THE THIN MAN (1934) – Mystery writer Dashiell Hammett’s final novel, The Thin Man, introduced former private detective Nick Charles and his wealthy socialite wife Nora. After marrying Nora, Nick left detective work in order to manage her business interests.
When a former client of Nick’s – eccentric inventor and title character Clyde Wynant – is suspected of murdering his female assistant/ mistress Julia Wolf, Nick is told that Clyde wants him to prove his innocence. Though retired, Nick is unwillingly drawn deeper into the investigation by circumstances beyond his control.
The Thin Man is set in New York City from Christmas Day of 1932 through the following few days, making it ideal Christmas into New Year’s reading material. Unlike Hammett’s Sam Spade and Continental Op characters, Nick and Nora Charles live it up among the wealthy and famous, traveling at will, dining at the best restaurants and gleefully downing as much booze as they can despite Prohibition still being in effect.
The Charles’ schnauzer Asta is along for the ride but she doesn’t become cloyingly cutesy like the dog would sometimes do in the Thin Man movie series.
The “lovable lushes” aspect of Nick and Nora’s characters is a huge part of their charm, along with their sparkling, witty banter. Readers get to feel as brilliant and sexy as the two leads as they fend off unwanted advances, sling snappy dialogue and interact with shady criminal types plus assorted New York entertainers and Old Money families. Continue reading