Mildred Pierce
James M. Cain

Book cover image

Narrated By: Christine Williams

Duration: 10 hours and 1 minute

What to expect

Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness. She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter.

Out of these elements, Cain creates a novel of acute social observation and devastating emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable.


Classic fiction, Fiction: general and literary, Fiction: general and literary, Crime and mystery: hard-boiled crime, noir fiction, Narrative theme: Interior life, Thriller / suspense fiction

Listen to a sample

“A novel that, once begun, will almost surely be read to the end…it reflects no codes, no restrictions, and none but the primordial necessities. It is a bath in sensation.”

New York Times Book Review

“This novel, by the author of The Postman Always Rings Twice, is compounded of shrewdness, artifice, a brittle vivacity and a commanding of psychological penetration. It sports a toughness of sentiment that is perhaps not quite so modish as it was, and yet at the same time it performs feats of surgical analysis that are undeniably impressive…It is all cleverly done, Mr.Cain’s air of hard detachment steadily gaining in power in the somewhat gruesome domestic scenes of the closing pages.”

Times Literary Supplement

“The drugstore-library sensationalism that still overhangs Cain’s work does not stop him from being one of the most readable storytellers in the U.S.” 


“[Mildred Pierce] take[s] on new life under Williams’ direction…[the story] flourishes under her steady, patient, ever-so-slightly melancholic gaze. Williams’ reading…amplifies our sense of Cain’s heroine as an abandoned woman who finds her own way, on her own terms.”