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Nick and Nora Charles, accompanied by their schnauzer, Asta, are lounging in their suite at the Normandie in New York City for the Christmas holiday, enjoying the prerogatives of wealth: meals delivered at any hour, theater openings, taxi rides at dawn, rubbing elbows with the gangster element in speakeasies. They should be annoyingly affected, but they charm. Mad about each other, sardonic, observant, kind to those in need, and cool in a fight, Nick and Nora are graceful together, and their home life provides a sanctuary from the rough world of gangsters, hoodlums, and police investigations into which Nick is immediately plunged.
A lawyer-friend asks Nick to help find a killer and reintroduces him to the family of Richard Wynant, a more-than-eccentric inventor who disappeared from society 10 years before. His former wife, the lush and manipulative Mimi, has remarried a European fortune hunter who turns out to be a vindictive former associate of her first husband and is bent on the ruin of Wynant's family fortune. Wynant's children, Dorothy and Gilbert, seem to have inherited the family aversion to straight talk. Dorothy, who has matured into a beautiful young woman, has a crush on Nick, and so, in a hero-worshipping way, does mama's boy Gilbert. Nick and Nora respond kindly to their neediness as Nick tries to make sense of misinformation, false identities, far-fetched alibis, and, at the center of the confusion, the mystery of The Thin Man, Richard Wynant. Is he mad? Is he a killer? Or is he really an eccentric inventor protecting his discovery from intellectual theft?
The dialogue is spare, the locales lively, and Nick, the narrator, shows us the players as they are, while giving away little of his own thoughts. No one is telling the whole truth, but Nick remains mostly patient as he doggedly tries to backtrack the lies. Hammett's New York is a cross between Damon Runyon and Scott Fitzgerald--more glamorous than real, but compelling when visited in the company of these two charmers. The lives of the rich and famous don't get any better than this! --Barbara Schlieper
When I see a film based on a novel, I like to read the novel to compare plots and execution. Most of the time the novel or story is fuller than the movie due to the short media... Read morePublished 15 months ago by bernie
When I see a film based on a novel, I like to read the novel to compare plots and execution. Most of the time the novel or story is fuller than the movie due to the short media... Read morePublished 16 months ago by bernie
This was required book club reading. I have never liked hard-boiled detective fiction, so, anything I say would be unfair.Published 18 months ago by Disabilities? What Disabilities?
When I see a film based on a novel, I like to read the novel to compare plots and execution. Most of the time the novel or story is fuller than the movie due to the short media... Read morePublished on July 13 2007 by bernie
The Thin Man is a wonderful novel. Written in the classic Hammett style, the story is full of twists and turns of the interaction of well defined, recognizable characters. Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2003 by jeanne-scott
I had fun reading this murder mystery involving a set of interesting, if not quite likeable, characters (who, as others have noted, drink a *lot*). Read morePublished on Sept. 14 2003 by Jacob H. Huebert
The year is 1932. Nick and Nora Charles have decided to spend Christmas in New York, away from their California home and family business. Read morePublished on July 24 2003 by mirasreviews
Having come off of reading Maltese Falcon and watching the Thin Man movie, I had high expectations for the book. Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2003 by Pansori
This book actually is worth reading a couple of times. Read it the first time for fun, but then reread it to see what you missed seeing the first time around. Read morePublished on July 25 2002 by Neal Reynolds