Grace Tjan's Reviews > The Thin Man

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
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Feb 04, 11

bookshelves: 2011, ebook, hardboiled, mystery-thriller
Read from January 29 to February 03, 2011

What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

1. A speakeasy is the proper place for a man to wait for his wife to finish her shopping.

2. A Schnauzer is NOT a cross between a Scottie and an Irish terrier.

3. “I hit Nora with my left hand, knocking her down across the room.” If a bad guy points a gun at you and your wife, the standard operating procedure is to knock her out to prevent her from becoming hysterical over such a potentially distressing situation.

4. Women do not really mind being knocked out for such reasons by their loving spouses. She would mildly protest, but would quickly forget it over a few drinks.

5. “Feminine brain-storms” cause hysteria in women. Italians and other foreigners are also prone to hysterics.

6. A Scotch and soda is a panacea for insomnia, and taken first thing in the morning before breakfast, would keep you awake during the day. Having up to 5 or 6 drinks a day would not keep you from being a brilliant dick.

7. Policemen’s liquor is no good. Never partake of any, even though it’s terribly tempting.

8. A dame “with hair on her chest” is admirable.

9. Women’s intuition is not to be belittled, even though they are prone to hysterics.

10. Flirtatious banter, directed at any receptive female, would get a man out of any number of tight situations.


Other Random Observations


Number of dead bodies: 3

Number of alcoholic drink consumed by the protagonist: 21

Number of cute canine interludes: 8

Number of un-PC racial epithet: 1

Number of incident of spousal abuse by the protagonist: 1


BUT SERIOUSLY,

I expected this to be a shining example of the 1930’s noir/screwball comedy, starring an amusing, bantering couple, hard-drinkin’ tough guys and smoky-eyed femme fatales. It certainly delivers some of these elements in generous portions. However, the banter is only mildly amusing, and the twist ending is achieved through the concealment of certain crucial facts from the reader --- not my preferred kind of mystery writing. There is some social commentary, although nothing overt, considering that Hammett was a Communist; and a perfectly adequate, if rather bland, description of the seedier underbelly of Prohibition era New York City. Raymond Chandler, with his vivid similes, deliciously quotable dialogue and atmospheric evocation of LA seems to be the superior noir writer.
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Reading Progress

01/31/2011 page 50
25.0% "Nick knocked out Nora. I know that this is hardboiled fiction, but WTF!?" 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Hayes (new)

Hayes "8. A dame “with hair on her chest” is admirable."

Don't remember the hairy dame... might have to re-read this!


Grace Tjan Hayes wrote: ""8. A dame “with hair on her chest” is admirable."

Don't remember the hairy dame... might have to re-read this!"


It's a compliment. : )


message 3: by ☯Bettie☯ (new)

☯Bettie☯ Isn't that a euphemism for strength and courage - he is saying that a dame with loads of real spunk is admirable.

Probably a hairy chest involves more manly hormones.


Grace Tjan Bettie wrote: "Isn't that a euphemism for strength and courage - he is saying that a dame with loads of real spunk is admirable.

Probably a hairy chest involves more manly hormones."


Yes. That was from a cop who watched Nora verbally chewing Nick after he knocked her out cold.


Rauf Sandybaks wrote: Raymond Chandler, with his vivid similes, deliciously quotable dialogue and atmospheric evocation of LA seems to be the superior noir writer.

Oh without a doubt ^^


message 6: by Grace (last edited Feb 04, 2011 02:53AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Grace Tjan Rauf wrote: "Sandybaks wrote: Raymond Chandler, with his vivid similes, deliciously quotable dialogue and atmospheric evocation of LA seems to be the superior noir writer.

Oh without a doubt ^^"


Have you read Red Harvest? It's in Time Magazine's 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. http://www.time.com/time/specials/pac...


Rauf Not yet. But yeah it's a Hammett book I want to read, along with Continental Op.


message 8: by Mohammed (last edited Apr 26, 2011 02:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mohammed If you want to see Hammett at his finest its not this his final novel when he was tired of the type of PI he made famous.

Its Red Harvest,The OP and Sam Spade.

Chandler himself said Hammett wrote that like no one else. He is much more hardcore,bleak than playful.


message 9: by Kevin (new)

Kevin As an aside, if you're interested, the last time I read Red Harvest, I noticed that it seemed to have a LOT of parallels with Miller's Crossing, the Coen Brothers' gangster movie.

I could be wrong, but if you do read it, it's something to watch for.

Kevin


Grace Tjan Kevin wrote: "As an aside, if you're interested, the last time I read Red Harvest, I noticed that it seemed to have a LOT of parallels with Miller's Crossing, the Coen Brothers' gangster movie.

I could be wrong..."


Thanks for the suggestion, Kevin. I'll remember that if I ever read Red Harvest.


message 11: by Kevin (new)

Kevin You're welcome.

Also, the Continental Op series (collected in 'The Continental Op' and 'The Big Knockover,' are excellent.


Jonathan I read the book twice. The first time for fun the second I was on a mission. A drink was consumed every other page. Wow.


Grace Tjan Are you telling me that you were trying to imitate the drinking while reading? ;)


Jonathan No, but the Charles were impressive drinkers.


message 15: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Sandy, if I understand Jonathan correctly, the second time he read the book, he counted the number of times they drank.

I suppose he then divided the number of drinks by then number of pages in the book to derive the average of a drink every other page.

And, by the way, I f***ing love the internet.

Thanks, Jonathan.

Kevin


Grace Tjan Ah, I see. In my review, I noted that they have 21 drinks. How many did you count?


Jonathan I marked the pages as I read the book and it worked out to every other page. Now I want to go back and count. Than again I can always read it once more. Such a great book.


Grace Tjan Have fun! Hic.


Roland Volz Pretty sure Nick knocked Nora across the room to protect her from the gunman, and the knockout was a side-effect.


message 20: by Jess (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jess Zerr It was a tad sexist wasn't it?


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