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Lost James M. Cain novel found

20th September 2011

Two days after the TV adaptation of James M. Cain's Mildred Pierce triumphed at the Emmy Awards, it has been revealed that a 'lost' novel by the author has been discovered and will be published in 2012.

According to Charles Ardai, the founder and editor of Cain's publisher Hard Case Crime, the manuscript for The Cocktail Waitress was found in a stack of papers his agent inherited from another literary representative.

The author, who also wrote The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, is believed to have written the manuscript towards the end of his life, though Mr Ardai revealed he now has the task of choosing from the multiple endings Cain created and deciphering the complicated margin notes.

He said of the author: 'He wasn't a doctor, but he wrote like one. With a magnifying glass, I can figure it out.'

According to Mr Ardai, receiving the manuscript of the novel – which concerns a young widow's love triangle with an older, rich man and young, handsome suitor – was akin to opening a magical box.

'It was this wonderful moment where you open the chest and the light comes up from inside and you don't ask the question "Where is the light coming from?"' he added.

The Cocktail Waitress is set to be published worldwide next year, once an ending is chosen from the many available. 

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