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The Thin Man

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  31,600 ratings  ·  2,206 reviews
Nick and Nora Charles are Hammett's most enchanting creations, a rich, glamorous couple who solve homicides in between wisecracks and martinis. At once knowing and unabashedly romantic, The Thin Man is a murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners. ...more
Paperback, Vintage Books Edition V-774, 180 pages
Published 1972 by Vintage Books (first published 1934)
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Brett Minor It doesn't really fit into the structure of the book. It could easily have been completely left out and it would not have made any difference to the p…moreIt doesn't really fit into the structure of the book. It could easily have been completely left out and it would not have made any difference to the plot.

However, during the time that this was written, many of the dime-store mystery writers of this pulp fiction were paid by the word. Every additional word made them just a little more money. Adding these little side bits was one of the tricks they used to get paid more.(less)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  31,600 ratings  ·  2,206 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
We found a table. Nora said: "She's pretty."

"If you like them like that."

She grinned at me. "You got types?"

"Only you, darling - lanky brunettes with wicked jaws."

"And how about the red-head you wandered off with at Quinns' last night?"

"That's silly," I said. "She just wanted to show me some French etchings.”


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It is almost impossible for me to separate the book from the movies. When I decided to reread this classic that spawned six great movies, Nick Charles was of course William Powell, and N
...more
Kemper
I invented a new drinking game based on The Thin Man and tried to give it a test run when I re-read it. The rules were simple, every time that main character Nick Charles took a drink, I’d take one, too. However, I had to be taken to the hospital for treatment of extreme alcohol poisoning by the second chapter. So don’t try that.

Nick used to be a private detective in New York, but he left that behind when he married Nora and moved to California to take over the management of the various business
...more
Anne
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really wasn't expecting to love this one as much as I did.
I just wanted to read it because it seems to be one of the gold standards for hardboiled detective stories. But I didn't think I'd actually like the characters.
They were so cool, though!
And now all I want is to have a drink (or ten) with Nick & Nora Charles.

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There's really nothing like a couple of lovable drinkers reluctantly solving a dangerous mystery. The story could have been dark and depressing what with all the lies, beatings, bi
...more
David Putnam
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book a great deal. For years I have heard readers and literary pundits talk about how Chandler and Hammett are the grandfathers of mystery. For me, Chandler has always been the pinnacle, and no one else comes close. His turn of phrase and perception of life is unmatched. I read Hammett’s Red Harvest and thought, “eh.” Red Harvest was an okay book but not in the same league as Chandler. With, The Thin Man Hammett uses a different style than Red Harvest. His prose is more economic, ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Image result for the thin man quotes

In Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, the relationship of Nick Charles and his wife Nora makes this stand out from other traditional noire-detective novels. While Nick has many of the same Sam Spadish qualities as other detectives in the genre, he actually listens to and values the opinion of his wife (even if his language is sometimes patronizing). Their banter also shows the tough guy personae on display when he interrogates suspects is not how he really lives, but how he does his job. I'm not c
...more
Evgeny
Nick Charles used to work in a private detective agency, got married later, came into good money, and took on a hard and thankless job of managing his investments. The beginning of the book finds Nick and his wife Nora in New York. It seemed they were drinking happily (and heavily) in a bar. Later it turned out it was just a mild warm-up routine for some very serious alcohol consumption. We just woke up - let's have a drink. Having trouble sleeping - double scotch is in order. A guest came - dri ...more
Dave Schaafsma
The Thin Man is a (sort of) noir novel by one of the greats of noir crime history, Dashiell Hammett, who is best known for creating Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon. But The Thin Man was also a well known and much read series, and maybe still is. This one features the lush drinking duo Nick and Nora Charles and opens very much like a screwball comedy. The movie version is a classic, and maybe better than the book in some ways.

“Nora: "How do you feel?"
Nick: "Terrible. I must've gone to bed sober
...more
Dan Schwent
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
An inventor goes missing and his mistress winds up dead. Former detective Nick Charles wants nothing to do with the case but keeps getting drawn in. With his plucky wife Nora, can Nick get things sorted out so he can get back to his drinking?

The Thin Man was not at all like I expected. After reading the exploits of Sam Spade and the Continental Op, I expected more of the same. The Thin Man is much more humorous than Hammett's earlier works and I found myself liking it quite a bit.

Nick Charles, f
...more
Jason Koivu
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"We didn't come to New York to stay sober."

The Thin Man is best read with a drink in hand. Do you have a drink? Do you need a refresher? Would you like another? Above all else, it is important that you be drinking!

Seriously...DRINK!

My god, a lot of alcohol is consumed in this book! It reads as if Ernest Hemingway had taken up crime noir.

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In The Thin Man, Nick Charles, private detective, has hung up his hat. Nora, his wife, kinda wishes he hadn't. She likes wrapping her head around a good myster
...more
Grace Tjan
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 b
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

This Christmas you are invited to a party of hard liquor, witty repartee and murder in the company of Nick and Nora Charles.

Powell & Loy

A hardboiled crime comedy might seem like an oddball choice for a winter holiday read, but Dashiell Hammett manages to mix together not only killer martinis, but also a succesful marriage between the mean and dirty Prohibition Era gumshoe detective and the British slick and sophisticated whodunits of Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers. Spiced up with some of that enchanting
...more
Joe Valdez
As research for a novel I'm writing, I'm reading detective fiction and ripping off everything of value. My story takes place in L.A. of the early '90s, but I'm traveling to all eras and hiring all manner of private eyes to serve as tour guide. Next up is The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. When you catch yourself in the mirror looking like Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller's Day Off in a fit of paralysis by analysis, except over whether to finish a book, I think the answer there is "no." I abandoned ...more
Madeline
Honestly? I think the awesomeness of Nick and Nora Charles got built up a little too much for me before I read this, because I was expecting 200 pages of nonstop witty banter between the two, and was mildly disappointed. Sure, Nick is funny in a dry sarcastic way, and Nora is the sassy drunken aunt you never knew you always wanted, but their banter and witticisms only caused the occasional chuckle.

But lucky for me, the book has a lot more going for it than just the banter. It's a fun, classic 3
...more
Paul Bryant
Captain Renault : What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick : My health – I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Captain Renault : Waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.
Rick : I was misinformed.

*

Thinking Dashiell Hammett would be the go-to guy now that I have run out of Chandlers, I thought : let’s read the very famous The Thin Man. The movie is great, what could possibly go wrong?

*

Well, for starters, Chandler’s prose is graced with genius where Hammett’s prose is graced with deadline
...more
Kathleen
May 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, mystery
Hmm. No noir here. The book leans more toward humor than any darkness, but it isn’t as funny as the movie.

No surprise this wasn’t for me, because I am clearly missing the murder-mystery-lover gene. I’ve tried, but I just don’t enjoy working out the puzzle.

Speaking of puzzles, I did enjoy Nora’s character and wish she’d played a bigger role in the story.

“Nora was eating a piece of cold duck with one hand and working on a jig-saw puzzle with the other when I got home. ‘I thought you’d gone to liv
...more
Brandon
Nick and Nora Charles are staying at a swanky hotel in Manhattan when word arrives of a missing man. Content to leave his old life behind as a private detective, Nick wants no part of the investigation. However, it isn’t long before Nick is forced into the case and in order to deal with the cast of characters circling the search, he keeps the liquor flowing.

Ah, the 1930s, when alcoholism was considered a charming personality trait as well as the social norm rather than the life-destroying diseas
...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hooligans!
Recommended to Nicholas by: Wikipedia
I wasn't aware of this previously, but apparently you just gotta slap a dame when they get hysterical. The things you learn when you read hard-boiled fiction.

"The Thin Man" was read as an attempt to get into the mindset of noir, since a friend of mine is asking me to write him a script in the style. It's one of my first encounters with crime fiction from that era, and I came away generally amused.

Nick Charles is on vacation with his wife Nora. He doesn't want to solve a mystery. He wants to drin
...more
James
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Hard-hitting, Hard-drinking, Fast-talking - classic detective thriller. It does what it says on the tin. For any fans of classic noir, this is not to be missed. ...more
T.D. Whittle
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I had never read a Hammett novel until now and, while I did enjoy it, I would be lying by omission if I did not say I like the movies so much better. I suspect this would be the case, too, with Hammett's other famous novels, in which his snappy detectives are the most enjoyable and memorable aspect of the stories. Hammett's writing is as crisp and clean as fresh-pressed linen, which suits his material. I found the book to be a real page-turner, in many ways.

And yet . . . *

William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, Skippy as Asta

I think whether reade
...more
Kirk
Nov 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I weren't the mean teacher I am I'd cut Hammett slack and round up to four stars because this---the last of his novels---is a solid 3-1/2. And that's only because it pales in comparison to every one of his other novels except THE DAIN CURSE, which is the true 3-star.

The main knock on THIN is that Hammett was pretty much bored with fiction by this point in his career, having lost his bearings to booze, broads, and just about any other indulgence that began with a B except Billy Barty (too sho
...more
Sarah
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: detectives, alcoholics
Somehow I never saw this movie or read this book during my six-month crime noir kick in ninth grade (though I did read Hammett's The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key aroud that time). But, boy, I'm glad that I've read it now.

The Thin Man is the last novel Hammett completed (though he started or pretended to start a half-dozen others) and it has the feel of being a parady of his other novellas and the 1930s crime genre in general. It is fabulously funny - as in, I couldn't go two pages without t
...more
Ed
Dec 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hammett's last novel, THE THIN MAN doesn't refer to the ex-detective Nick Charles, but a different character. Nick and Nora Charles with their dog Asta were famous in the popular THIN MAN movies starring the witty and suave William Powell with Myrna Loy. The novel, however, shows a grittier side with its muggings, narcotics, and lots of booze consumed. By the end, THIN MAN reads like an elaborate whodunnit I had trouble at times following. The quality dialogue is probably the real strength. I'll ...more
Christine PNW
So, this one was a bit underwhelming, to be perfectly honest. I wanted to like it, with it's aura of louche 1930's glamour. Unfortunately, I basically disliked all of the characters except for Nick & Nora. On second thought, I disliked Nick, too.

I was especially uncomfortable with Dorry, who was depicted as a hormonally-driven drunken teenager, and Nick's reaction to her tight little body made me more than a little uncomfortable (actually, I'm not sure if she was a teenager). Her brother, Gilbe
...more
Bruce Beckham
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a slender book in more ways than its title.

If you are a style aficionado, the thrift with which Dashiell Hammett writes is something to savour. I recall when I read The Maltese Falcon vividly ‘seeing’ each new character he introduced, and The Thin Man is no different. Take this excerpt, for example, describing the uninvited appearance of gangster Shep Morelli in sleuth (& protagonist) Nick Charles’ bedroom doorway:

“He was a plump, dark, youngish man of medium height, broad through the ja
...more
Willis Markuske
Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Hammett book. Written with the same economical and sparse style of his other novels, the tone couldn't be more different. Nick & Nora Charles are fun characters who come off much more 3 dimensional - as opposed to archetypcal - than either Sam Spade or the Continental Op.

Plot is almost a secondary concern here which is rare for a mystery. Instead the almost constant drinking and flirting the two main characters engage in (with each other and whomever else is around) get top billing
...more
Kim
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
This is the first Hammett novel I've read. I don't know why I haven't made the effort to read such an iconic writer before, particularly as I am a long-time crime fiction reader and a fan of "classic" mysteries. It may be my first Hammett, but I'm pretty sure it won't be my last.

I've just finished re-reading all of the novels of Dorothy L Sayers, who is without doubt my favourite writer of "Golden Age" mysteries. It was interesting to compare The Thin Man with Sayers' novels. It's certainly less
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
I will freely admit that part of why I read this book was that I enjoyed what I have seen of the movie so much. I actually didn't get to watch all of it, as I caught it on Turner Classic Movies after it started and wasn't able to watch the whole movie. I made a note that I wanted to read the book and get the whole movie set on DVD at some point. Additionally, I am interested in the roots of the detective novel. You can't explore detective fiction without reading Dashiell Hammett. So here we go.. ...more
Krok Zero
Man, what the hell? This book kind of sucks for some reason. Everyone knows that Hammett pretty much single-handedly invented modern crime fiction, and The Maltese Falcon is an enduring masterpiece that may still stand as the most geometrically perfect example of the detective novel form. The Thin Man is his second most famous work, owing to the popular Hollywood film series loosely based on characters therein, but it is an undistinguished, amateurish work that does not hold up on its own terms. ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay...if you're into "hard-boiled" detective fiction or mystery fiction I'm sure you'd rate this book higher. Maybe for me it would even be a 3.5 if I could go there.

The dialogue held me here, the by play and banter between Nick, Nora, and then the entire cast of characters. It was well written and well characterized. I suppose it was also well plotted only, I just don't seem to be a mystery fan. I had to keep dragging my interest back to the book. Maybe the fact that I loved the movie and ther
...more
Debbie Robson
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t believe it’s been two years since I read Chandler’s The Big Sleep which I really enjoyed. I was expecting something similar but of course The Thin Man is it’s own creation with marvellous, witty dialogue between husband and wife, Nick and Nora Charles. I love the dryness of Nick:
“Do you suppose he killed her?” Nora asked when I put the paper down again.
“Wynant? I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s batty as hell.”
“Did you know her?”
“Yes. How about a drop of something to cut the phlegm?”
“What was
...more
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Also wrote as Peter Collinson, Daghull Hammett, Samuel Dashiell, Mary Jane Hammett

Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hardboiled detective novels and short stories. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). In addition to the significant influence his nove
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“The problem with putting two and two together is that sometimes you get four, and sometimes you get twenty-two.” 268 likes
“Nora: "How do you feel?"
Nick: "Terrible. I must've gone to bed sober.”
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