Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Review Friday: The Thin Man


I've been a fan of Nick and Nora Charles for years ... the William Powell and Myrna Loy version via the Thin Man movie franchise.  I finally decided it was time to read the book and find out where it all started.

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett is a New York Noir 1930s potboiler detective story.   Nick Charles is a retired detective married to Nora, an heiress who has come into her fortune.  Like others of the fashionable 1930's social set, they spend their time traveling, partying, and drinking.  During Christmas week in Manhattan, Nick runs in to the daughter of an old client.  Dorothy Wynant asks Nick for help finding her father, the inventor, Clyde Miller Wynant, who hasn't been seen in over three months.  Nick gives Dorothy a simple suggestion and moves on to his next drink with Nora.  But things start happening and soon Nick and Nora are up to their necks in murder.

This was a quick read and a lot of fun.  The story got bogged down once as Nick told a long, convoluted story about cannibals to young Gilbert Wynant, but aside from that it was a fast-paced story, long on dialogue and action, short on descriptions.

I read the book and listened to the audio, narrated by William Dufris.   Dufris's narration was excellent.  Tho' his voice for Dorothy might have been too spot on, that bratty whine occasionally got on my nerves!

If you want more Dashiell Hammett try:

The Maltese Falcon 
The Glass Key

For more gritty, noir detective novels try these authors:

The Philip Marlowe series by Raymond Chandler, start with The Big Sleep
The Spenser series by Robert B. Parker, start with The Godwulf Manuscript
The Amos Walker series by Loren Estleman, start with Motor City Blue
The Michael Kelly series by Michael Harvey, start with The Chicago Way

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