Cain's novels are not densely populated. He usually focuses attention on the protagonist/narrator, and creates four or five supporting players to act out the dramatic incident. Frank is a drifter; he has a restless need for mobility which places him at cross-purposes with his lover, Cora, who is basically sedentary. Having had the door to movie stardom shut in her face, she settles for a lesser goal — bourgeois respectability, which she hopes to attain by renovating the inn and, with Frank's help, making it a profitable business. After they are cleared of the murder, Cora attempts this...
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