I’ve been a fan of The Thin Man movie for over twenty years, but I never read the book by Dashiell Hammett. That is until now. Even though it’s different from the movie, I still loved the novel. Usually I enjoy the book more; however, this is a rare instance that I place both of them on equal footing. After enjoying the movie for so long, I can’t, or won’t maybe, say I don’t like it now. The movie is more comedic, while the novel is grittier.
Nick Charles is a former detective in New York City. He gave up the job when he married Nora. She’s wealthy and Nick gave up sleuthing to manage their assets, while consuming generous amounts of alcohol. My gut tells me that he did more drinking than managing. I know for a fact, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him and I wouldn’t want to try.
During a visit to New York, Nick finds himself in a pickle. An old client is missing and another person is murdered. Nick becomes a suspect. The story takes place during the Prohibition era, so much of the action happens in speakeasies. I’ve always been fascinated by this time period. While he is pulled into the drama Nick has to contend with an unpleasant family, the Wynants. They made my skin crawl. Nick and Nora do their best to stay out of trouble (but it keeps finding them) and attempt to solve the mystery. Along the way, they banter back and forth and their wit is pure brilliance.
This book is a must for those who love the movie and who like detective novels. It’s on my 1001 books to read before you die list.
I read this novel this past summer during my trip to Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Over the course of two weeks, I had many flights. This novel, which is only 190 pages, was the perfect book to have in my travel bag, meaning it wasn’t too heavy. I opted not to bring Bleak House, which is over 700 pages. During my flights, I read The Thin Man. When I took a break from reading, this was my view outside.