Created by O.G. Benson
“My fist hit him and the scream died as a gurgle in his throat. I hit him again and felt the jar wrench my shoulder. He slid down the wall like a punctured bag of sand and I kicked him in the face.”
MAX RAVEN‘s a Chicago P.I., still smarting from his divorce, who falls — but hard — for his client, Naomi Cain, the young, beautiful, lusty wife of Jeremiah Cain, an elderly millionaire. Seems someone’s threatening to toss around some pornographic photos she once posed for.
Excellent one-shot. A lost classic. Really!
The author, as far as I can tell, never wrote another P.I. novel. He was evidently a fairly accomplished painter, so maybe his interests lay elsewhere, but it’s still regrettable he never wrote more, because this book was really something special: a tough, violent read with some great lines, some appealingly flawed and emotionally honest characters, and a plot that, even now, seems fresh and innovative.
And oh, that cover!
By the way, in case you were wondering, the O.G. stood for Orwin Gaylord. No wonder he used his initials. According to a story that Steve Lewis of Mystery*File tells, Benson was introduced to the editors at Dell by John D. MacDonald himself, but that as proposed sequel was scrapped by the author, despite some great reviews, because he was put off by the editorial changes in Cain’s Woman.
“She was sitting in the office just out of my line of vision, cut off by the door frame. All I could see of her were her legs. Two of the longest, loveliest and most exciting legs since Marlene Dietrich drove the schoolmaster nuts in “Blue Angel.” The ones in my office were crossed, the hem of her skirt draping the tops of two softly rounded nylon knees. One of them moving idly back and forth like a metronome slowly marking time.”
- “… the best private detective novel of the post Chandler era. ”
— Mr. Brian,Vintage Paperback Cover Art
- “… one of the most creative P.I. novels ever written… an excellent P.I. novel in every way, with many surprises and a terrific ending.”
— August West
- “Emphasis is less on the sexy and violent elements of the story than on the interesting people along the way. . . . It’s a good solid debut and one looks forward to more of Raven and Benson.”
— Anthony Boucher, New York Times
- Cain’s Woman (1960, aka “Cain’s Wife”) | Buy this book
- One and Done
Private Eyes Who Only Appeared in One Novel