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THE THIN MAN – “A Great Drawing Room Comedy with Corpses”

June 28, 2011

THE THIN MAN
by Dashiell Hammett

It’s impossible to read this book and not see and hear  illiam Powell and Myrna Loy in the classic 1934 film that inspired five sequels. The plot is preposterous and the Hammett novel (and its readers) don’t really care. Nick Charles typically stands in the midst of inexplicable events with a drink in his hand, nodding wisely as if he understands everything and is not about to share. When a reporter asks him, “Can’t you tell us anything about the case?” Nick replies: “Yes. It’s putting me way behind in my drinking.”

But there is something endearing about this drawing room comedy with corpses. The banter between husband and wife, their life, like a piece of enjoyable art, a good cast of secondary characters (thugs, cops, reporters and an untiring line of partygoers who turn up nightly at the Charles’ suite for free drinks) and, of course, Asta the dog. As opposed to Agatha Christie the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together without any
effort. In the movie on Christmas morning, Nick tests the new air-rifle he got
as a present by firing at the balloons on their Christmas tree and he throws a
dinner party for all of the suspects, with plainclothes cops as waiters (Nora tells one of them: “Waiter, will you serve the nuts? I mean, will you serve the guests the nuts?”).

Life is fun, and we are ready for those sequels.

Order the novel direct from amazon for $10.40. Please click here: The Thin Man

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