Suppose you’ve finished The Postman Always Rings Twice and have a yen for another femme fatale -- another alluring woman who leads a hopelessly bedazzled man to his doom. What should you read next? You could, of course, go on with Cain and try Double Indemnity or even The Embezzler. Or you could look for novels by other authors who spin the basic story in different ways. These writers can’t rely on the plot to hold our attention, so they work harder on character development. They’re likely to have sympathy for the infatuated guy, for example, and try to add nuance to his motives. Sometimes they’ll even have a kind word for femme fatale herself. Branch out, is what I say.
Here’s a list of my favorites -- all set in California, of course.
1. Home Is the Sailor by Day Keene
2. Roadside Night by Erwin N. Nistler and Gerry P. Broderick
3. If You Have Tears by Howard Browne [as John Evans]
4. The Pitfall by Jay Dratler
5. Scylla by Malden Grange Bishop
The first entry is easy to find. It’s now back in print and is also available for the Kindle. The remaining four, however, are out of print and will take some effort to locate. They’re all worth reading though.