The Postman Always Rings Twice: Book Review

Today, we will be going back to the 1930’s for our book review. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain is a crime novel that shocked the world upon its release. Keep reading for a short summary and why you should read this classic novel!

The Postman Always Rings Twice Summary

Frank Chambers is a drifter who stops at a California diner for a meal and is hired by the owner Nick Papadakis to work there. Nick is called “The Greek” and is married to a young man named Cora, who Frank falls in love with at first sight.

Frank and Cora have a passionate affair behind Nick’s back as all three of them work at the diner. Cora is sick of her marriage to Nick and wants to leave him but without money, that isn’t an option. She and Nick come up with a plan to murder Nick and run the diner together after his death.

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain crime novel
The Postman Always Rings Twice book review

The plan has some issues and Cora gets more and more restless as time passes. Frank has to make some hard choices and it uproots his and Cora’s life. Can they pull off the murder without getting caught and live happily ever after?


This is a short story and you can easily read it under two hours. Most likely, you will end up reading it in one sitting like I did. The novel is brilliant and is able to tell a short story that feels like a television show. There are a lot of twists and turns that make it an enjoyable read until the end.

First published in 1934, this novel was an instant success upon its release. Its combination of sex and violence made it unique and controversial. That led to it being banned in Boston as a result. The novel was inspired by Emile Zola’s 1868 novel Thérèse Raquin, which has a similar plot as this novel.

There have been seven film adaptions of the novel, as an opera, a radio drama, and two plays. Cain was a successful journalist and part of the inspiration came from his own experience and from a court case. This novel was a best-seller and was well-received and critically acclaimed, something that doesn’t happen often.

The Postman Always Rings Twice


I enjoyed this novel a lot more than I thought I would. It is easy to see how the book was an instant success and why it has been adapted into a lot of films. Cain makes the pages come to life with his writing and you can’t help but be intrigued with the characters in the novel. Happy reading!

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