The Thin Man

Title: The Thin Man

Author: Dashiell Hammet

Category: Mystery

First published: 1932

Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository  | IndieBound

Retirement suited Nick just fine. He had a pretty wife called Nora, a Schnauzer called Asta and a taste for good Scotch.

All it took was a little persuasion. Like four .32 bullets, a blonde, the newspapers, the cops, and a junked-up hoodlam in his bedroom. Nick Charles, former Trans-American Detective Agency Ace, was back in business!

I feel like I should rave about The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. It’s a classic, “a murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners,” noir but not. The thing is, I found it a little boring. I can’t even put my finger on why. It has a lot of things working for it, a wonderful, often tipsy, couple who flirt with abandon, both with each other and with secondary characters. The mystery is good, with plenty of clues and a twist that surprised, even though I should have seen it coming. The dialogue is spot on, witty and amusing. The characters are all interesting, even the ones that are odd ducks. It’s got dames and booze and guns – maybe I just read it at the wrong point in time for me. I seemed to be dragging through it, not uninterested but not motivated to pick it up, either.

It might be partly because Nick himself doesn’t really seem to care about the mystery. He’s left his PI career behind after marrying the lovely Nora. He wants to relax, drink, go out, drink. He solves it of course, but I guess I never felt like his heart was really in it. Nora, however seems fascinated by the whole thing.

And the title doesn’t make any sense until 3/4 through the book.

I think I should watch the movie. Maybe it’s one of the few where I’ll enjoy the movie more than the book.

It is a very quotable book though.

“The problem with putting two and two together is that sometimes you get four, and sometimes you get twenty-two.”

“She grinned at me.  ‘You got types?’
‘Only you darling – lanky brunettes with wicked jaws.”

Challenges: WAYR, VM


  • The book is okay, but the movie is wonderful. The chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy is incredible and makes the movie worth watching.

  • You should definitely see the movie. I agree with exactly what Ryan said. I liked the book, but I read it after watching the movie multiple times over many years, so I don’t know what I would have thought about it otherwise. There is a lot of drinking (in both) and I don’t think anyone would survive that much drinking.

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