Sunday, April 22, 2018

Five of the best fictional femme fatales

Peter Swanson's latest novel is All the Beautiful Lies. One of his five favorite fictional femme fatales, as shared at the Waterstones blog:
Phyllis Nirdlinger in Double Indemnity by James M. Cain (1945)

Cain specialized in the dangerous female, but Phyllis Nirdlinger, immortalized by Barbara Stanwyk in Billy Wilder’s film version, is my favorite. A bored Southern California housewife who talks an insurance agent into killing her husband, she is almost feral in her devotion to murder. The movie is one of the all time greats, but the book is far more chilling, especially the end. There is a poisonous toxicity to the character that expresses itself in both her villainy and her sexuality. A disturbing (but in a good way) book.
Read about another entry on the list.

Double Indemnity is among Carlos Ruiz Zafón's top ten 20th-century gothic novels and Malcolm Jones' ten favorite crime novels.

See John Mullan's ten best femmes fatales in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue