For the love of a beautiful waitress, a meat salesman will turn butcher. Clay Lockwood enters the Portico with corned beef on his mind. He's a top distributing executive with Grant's Meats, and the contract with the Portico restaurant chain is only the latest in a long line of boardroom coups. He comes for lunch, and eats his fill of his company's beef, but leaves with an entirely different hunger gnawing at his gut - a volcanic passion that will tear him apart. The hostess's name is Sally Alexis, a magician's wife whose rough-hewn charm mesmerizes this magnate of meat. She rebuffs his first pass, but calls him up later, to explain her situation and plead for tenderness. Although her marriage is miserable, she's won't leave her husband because she wants to secure an inheritance for her little boy. As the lovers get closer, Lockwood becomes an amateur illusionist himself, focusing on one very particular trick - how to make a magician disappear.
James M. Cain, geb. 1892 in Annapolis, Maryland, schrieb für große Zeitungen, war Leitartikler für New York World und Professor für Journalistik, bis ihn der Kritiker und Sprachforscher H. L. Mencken zu literarischer Arbeit anregte. Die Romane 'Wenn der Postmann zweimal klingelt' und 'Doppelte Abfindung', die in den Dreißigerjahren erschienen, machten ihn weltberühmt. Heute zählt James M. Cain zu den ganz großen Autoren der amerikanischen Kriminalliteratur. Er starb 1977.