Serenade, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


'Cain has established a formidable reputation of furious pace, harsh and masterful realism, tough, raw speech right out of the mouths of the people' SATURDAY REVIEW Serenade is the story of the eternal triangle - with a difference.

John Howard Sharp is an American opera singer down on his luck, having just bombed in Rigoletto in Mexico City when he first encounters the beautiful Mexican-Indian prostitute called Juana.

Miraculously, she offers him the chance to rebuild his career in Hollywood and New York but then Winston Hawes, the young, rich and well-connected conductor who had first launched Sharp, comes back into his life with terrible consequences.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781780220208



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My third book by Cain (Double Indemnity & The Postman Always Rings Twice being the others) and after reading and absolutely loving the others I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this novel.We follow the tale of John Howard Sharp, an out of work but world class opera singer, he finds himself down to his last few pesos in Mexico when his life becomes entwined with a beautiful local prostitute. Together they carve their way back into the USA where Sharp once again establishes himself as a force within the industry. This all goes well until the man responsible for launching Sharp, the young conductor Winston Hawes, comes back into his life with disastrous consequences.For it's time I would imagine the novel caused quite a stir and not a lot is held back. Gay relationships and prostitution appear in abundance, and Caine is definitely not someone who constrained by the attitudes of the time.But, and here is the books downfall for me, I just didn't enjoy it. The other books I have read have always sped along at a really fast pace, and I admired him as an author that wasted no words. However this book for me was the exact opposite. Pages and pages were dedicated to prattling on about various forms of music and the arts. It was almost as if the author was just attempting to put all of his knowledge of Puccinni etc into this book. I have read that Cain's mother was an opera singer so this is obviously where this all stems from. I just couldn't get into the actual storyline itself, which when it did manage to deviate from the theme of 'Art' was actually quite good.If this had been the first book I had picked by Cain then I am sure it would have been my last, and that really would have been a great shame. Looking at others reviews I can see that I am in the minority, but I can only give my own honest opinion and that is to try something else of his first.

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