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Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Review: The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

Fun fun fun! It is best to read this book with a martini but as I have no vermouth, I drank a Tom Collins. It's funny that this book takes place in the 1930s during the depression, which is also during prohibition, and yet the main characters, Nick and Nora Charles, are fabulously wealthy and drink excessively. (Its true the book was published in 1933 which is the year prohibition was lifted, but that means it was written in 1932 and the drinking during prohibition amusement was intentional.) In fact, they drink with cops several times.

Nick Charles used to be a private detective. A case he worked on several years ago has resurfaced as his client's secretary has been murdered and he has disappeared. Nick does not want to get involved, but it happens to him regardless of whether he wants it too. It doesn't hurt that Nora is intrigued by the whole thing.

I don't want to give too much away, but it's glamorous, decadent, and hilarious. It's one of those books that makes you kick yourself for not having read it sooner, when you finally get around to it. By the way, the movies are also excellent. It's been a while so I don't recall how closely they cleave to the plot and language of the novel, but the tone and characterizations were spot-on.

7 comments:

Whitney said...

I love this book too. Nick and Nora are so witty and I feel like the murder mystery was simply an after thought.

Cozy Book Nook (Lesa) said...

Love this movie and didn't realize it was a book!! Too cool!

Lesa

Carin said...

Thank you for saying that Whitney! I've been trying to convince a friend who doesn't like mysteries to read it. See Kristen? I'm not just saying that!

Chelle said...

Just stopping by from the book hop!
Check out my blog if you have time. I'm giving away a book! Happy Friday!

Rose City Reader said...

This is a great book. As I recall, it comes very close to the movie -- right down to some of the best lines.

Booklover Book Reviews said...

This sounds right up my alley - thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Teacher/Learner said...

Also love this one! Very witty, giving the mystery a backseat to Nick & Nora's social interactions, which are much more interesting. I have a review of this as well.