The Thin Man by Dashiell HammettI 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 businesses her father left her. Why couldn’t Nora run them herself? Because this was 1933 so in addition to casual alcoholism being an accepted part of everyday life, the lady folks weren’t going to be left in charge of something as important as business. Ah, the good ole days…
Nick and Nora are on a Christmas vacation trip back to New York when Nick bumps into the daughter of an old client of his, Clyde Wynatt. Wynatt has gone missing and a woman associated him was murdered so everyone from the family to Wynatt’s lawyer to the cops think that Nick is working the case. Nick would prefer to just do some more drinking, but Nora is intrigued by the idea of watching her husband play detective and other events transpire to pull Nick into reluctantly investigating in between glasses of whiskey.
Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and Red Harvest are two of my favorite detective novels as well as being considered classics of the genre. This one shows off a bit of his versatility in that it reads as a witty comedy with a dash of murder rather than a hard boiled mystery. The banter between Nick and Nora is fun, and his casual remarks about needing a drink with breakfast just to “cut the phlegm” make for their own kind of anachronistic amusement.
The mystery is kind of a convoluted mess, but Hammett managed to tie it all together with a resolution that makes sense. It’s not my favorite book of his, but it’s got a dated charm that makes it a fun read. 3.65 stars.
Five Continental Op Stories - Dashiell Hammett - Detective Fiction - Audiobook - English - 2/2
The characters were later adapted for film in a series of movies between and ; for radio from to ; for television from through ; as a Broadway musical in ; and as a stage play in The tremendous popularity of the characters made them a media archetype , as the bantering, romantically involved detective duo has become a well-used trope in literature, stage, screen, and television ever since. Nick is a former private detective who retired when he married Nora, a wealthy Nob Hill heiress.
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Hackett and Goodrich created a revolutionary style of dialogue between Nick and Nora Charles for their day. The style was often mimicked after the Thin Man films became runaway favorites with each new installment. We should point out early in our description of this fine, long-running series that precious few examples of the run survive in circulation. The handful of examples of the programs over the years come from the various AFRS electrical transcriptions that have survived. Most of the information we'd normally find in the opening or closing credits of the recordings of Thin Man programs are absent in most of the AFRS produced transcriptions.
Perhaps the most durable are movie dreams based on memorable lines, the most famous being, ''Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. In the case of Dashiell Hammett, who is credited with eliminating the butler from the mystery story and introducing the hard-boiled detective into American fiction and film, it is an aficionado's tossup among some of his other lines in ''The Thin Man'' and ''The Maltese Falcon'':. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means you'll be out again in 20 years. You're an angel. I'll wait for you.
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The appeal of Nick and Nora Charles: they are each bright, witty, sophisticated, and unfazed by danger. Lots of drinking goes on, which understandably provides more humor. Their interaction as husband and wife is affectionate and playful, but not sappy. WordPress is giving me a hard time today with embedding video. What is it? Sometimes he shares them with his dog, Sludge. It was actually during WWI sorry, typo when Agatha Christie worked in a hospital dispensary and learned a great deal about medications, overdoses, and their effects.
The Op has been summoned to Personville by the newspaper publisher, Donald Willsson, but before the Op can even meet up with Willsson, the newspaper man is murdered. My destination was a gray frame cottage. When I rang the bell the door was opened by a thin man with a tired face that had no color in it except a red spot the size of a half-dollar high on each cheek. This, I thought, is the lunger Dan Rolff. The Op is a tough guy in a town that is equally as tough — the locals call it Poisonville.
Two of the media stars of the summer are a charming husband-and-wife team who made their last film appearance in Nick and Nora Charles, Dashiell Hammett's wealthy Depression-era detectives, are the hero and heroine of six "Thin Man" movies, which were released this month in a boxed set that quickly jumped to No. If it's surprising that 21st-century Americans find Nick and Nora so appealing, it's no more so than that Hammett, a dedicated socialist with a very dark worldview, created them in the first place. Hammett was an ex-Pinkerton detective who became a writer of pulp crime stories with unsentimental, sometimes unsympathetic, heroes. His Continental Op, an operative for the fictional Continental Detective Agency, was a sullen loner who was just a few moral notches above the criminals he was tracking down. Hammett's first full-length novel, "Red Harvest," is a searing story set in a corrupt mining town called Personville and pronounced "Poisonville" by the locals.