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The Thin Man
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1001 book reviews > The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

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Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 4 stars

This book made me smile. The witty banter and 80 year old slang was fun to read. The mystery is often referred to as hard-boiled. By modern standards it isn't at all. But it is the perfect, old-fashioned detective story. I could see the fashion, smell the cigarette smoke and taste the gin. I liked Nick and Nora Charles well enough that I wished for sequels to this wonderful book. Unfortunately there aren't any.


Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4 Stars

A fun noir mystery about a heavily drinking husband and wife detective team in the 1930's. This one seemed more humorous than the other books of his I read, but having read three of his books in a short period of time, I would have to say that I prefer Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon.


Kristel (kristelh) | 4248 comments Mod
Read 2009
A crime fiction written in the 1930's by Dahiel Hammett about a retired detective in New York over the Christmas holiday who gets involved in solving a murder mystery. Just about eveyone in the book is a possible suspect. The couple are heavy drinkers in the social circuit who make sarcastic remarks about everyone. As far as mysteries go, I thought it was pretty good and kept you guessing to the end. I found it hard to believe anyone could drink that much from the time they wake up until they go to bed and in fact they hardly sleep. The novel is set in the thirties and obviously these people weren't being effected by the depression. I found it hard to follow who was the voice as the protagonist, Nick, is telling the story in first person. I haven't seen the movie but it read like it would adapt very well to movie.


message 4: by Celia (last edited Jun 26, 2020 08:48AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Celia (cinbread19) | 147 comments Read 2020
I found this exceptional plot overview on Wikipedia which I will now share with you

The story is set in New York City in December 1932, in the last days of Prohibition. The main characters are a former private detective, Nick Charles and Nora, his clever young wife. Nick, son of a Greek immigrant, has given up his career since marrying Nora, a wealthy socialite and he spends most of his time cheerfully getting drunk in hotel rooms and speakeasies. Nick and Nora have no children but they own a female Schnauzer named Asta. (In the film adaptation, Asta is a male wire-haired fox terrier.) Charles is drawn, mostly against his will, into investigating a murder. The case brings them in contact with the Wynants, a rather grotesque family, and with various policemen and lowlifes. As they attempt to solve the case, Nick and Nora share a great deal of banter and witty dialogue, along with copious amounts of alcohol.

I thought this book very entertaining and FUNNY. A few times I laughed out loud. I need to see the movie some day as the dialogue is hilarious (but sometimes uses words I have never heard of before).

4 stars


Valerie Brown | 645 comments Read July 2020

I quite enjoyed this short novel. This may have been influenced by how much I like the movie! Nick and Nora are witty, living the high life and interested in the mystery that they end up embroiled in. Hammett obviously had a lot of fun snubbing his nose at Prohibition. Alcohol seems to be quite easy to get, and no-one turns down a drink here (including the police). The pace is fast moving. I would say that this is the least ‘hard-boiled’ of his novels, but that doesn’t take away from how good it is. 4*


Gail (gailifer) | 1533 comments I am delighted to have read The Thin Man and gotten to know Hammett a bit through Nora and Nick Charles who drink constantly, entertain constantly and also get caught up in a murder mystery that everyone thinks Nick should help solve even though no one is paying him to. The events take place in the 30's in New York and you knew the depression was in full swing but it seemed to be out of sight, and no one seems to have heard of Prohibition although it was repealed in the very month that the book was published. All the characters are likely suspects and no one is obviously innocent which plays into the "hard-boiled" nature of the mystery, along with our couple slumming it at a speakeasy or two and at "joints" owned by criminals. Plus there is the use of lots of 1930's slang in a crisp, no nonsense writing style. Our characters, including the women, are often caught up in physical fights, and the police don't care about any crime but murder. As his wife pegged Nick, our main character: "your performance so far has been a little less than dazzling" and the mystery is solved not with evidence but because ultimately it is the only thing that makes sense in terms of motivation. A great romp, and now I am looking forward to The Maltese Falcon


Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 481 comments I was so disappointed that Mimi didn't do it. It was great seeing a happily married sleuth- so many of these PI sleuths are permanently single and wind up in bed with one or more of the witnesses or clients. I also liked that the women were all as likely as the men to have been the murderer. Nick is a total push-over, and the poor guy is surrounded by people who feel entitled to his help, even though he is on vacation and no longer a licensed private investigator. He seemed to enjoy the work, mostly, but he still should learn to set better boundaries. And how the heck did he become friends with anyone as horrid as Mimi!?!
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. It's not my favorite in the subgenre, but it was still a fun, fast read.


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