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The Thin Man Paperback – 1961

4.2 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1961
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000V21I94
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,374,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Aug. 2004
Format: Audio Cassette
If you are like me, you met The Thin Man first in the movie series. Those movies have Nick Charles straddling the gap between the "haves" and the tough guy world with insouciance as he waltzes with the wealthy socialites and unravels fatal plots. The book itself is much darker, directly suggesting alcoholism, incest, adultery, and all the minor crimes . . . and deadly sins. The view is that humans are thoroughly flawed, but some can rise above that to serve others anyway. That is the nobility of the Nick Charles character . . . as he staggers out of bed in the afternoon with yet another hangover. Helping out old clients is his source of redemption against the temptations he cannot resist.
The world view is probably somewhat autobiographical as Hammett spent more of his time in Hollywood late in his career, rather than working as a fiction writer. The echoes of F. Scott Fitzgerald are very strong, especially to Tender Is The Night.
For those who love the classic "tough guy" stories by Hammett, this one can never have the same appeal. Nick is still tough, but he mostly shows it by taking abuse with style. That's a feminine kind of toughness that comes from maturity. He passes off the chances to trade punches when they arise.
The characterizations of Nick and Nora Charles are the strength of the novel. But the book transcends that by also creating a picture of a flawed marriage between two people with hearts of gold who love each other, but are also killing each other. The development of the relationship is brilliant.
The mystery itself isn't very mysterious. It just has lots of red herrings. If you judge mysteries by the quality of the plot unfolding of that mystery, you will probably rate this book at 3 or 4 stars.
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Format: Paperback
Today, of course, Dashiell Hammett's reputation rests largely on the legendary novel THE MALTESE FALCON, but this does not mean that his other work isn't worth a look, and THE DAIN CURSE is a case in point: tightly written in a merciless tone, Hammett's second novel clearly sets the stage for much that was to follow.
Hammett first made his reputation as a pulp magazine author, churning out a series of short stories in a lean, mean prose that drew numerous fans and built critical attention. One of the most popular characters of his short story work was known as "the Continental Op"--an insurance detective ("Op" being short for "operative") whose various adventures would ultimately form the basis for this, Hammett's second novel-length effort.
Although some will disagree, I personally consider THE DAIN CURSE an noticeable improvement over Hammett's first novel, RED HARVEST. Like most of Hammett's work, both works are noteable for their hard-hitting prose, both offer convoluted plots, and both provide us with archetypical characterizations--but where I find RED HARVEST a strangely flat and slightly up-hill read, THE DAIN CURSE hooks you with the first few pages and holds your attention with ease throughout the entire course of the novel.
The story is, as previously stated, convoluted. The Op is called in to investigate stolen diamonds--but strangely enough, these diamonds are not really precious: they are imperfect stones loaned by a jeweler to scientist/artist Leggett, who experiments with them in an effort to improve their quality.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used to really love the films with William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles and their dog Asta, only fairly recently found out that Dashiel Hammett wrote the stories, again another link via Rory Gallagher who was a great fan of his works, Just read a book from the library which turned up in Hammetts papers and was published in 2012, Its kind of quirky and full of punchy dialogue, very very 1930's which I love, Nick was mostly a bit squiffy all the time, solved crimes and no bad language which is really refreshing, going to enjoy reading it as I have enjoyed the library book.
I also didn't realise Dashiel Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon which is another favourite film of mine, so I bought the book to read
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Format: Paperback
If you've never seen 'Miller's Crossing', I urge you to - without the slightest hesitation - do so now! The Coen brothers' gangster film is not quite up there with 'The Godfather' or 'Goodfellas', but is a work of genius nevertheless. It's a highly stylised tale of a town ruled by the mob and the relationship of the two men at the centre of it. Both Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney are superb (indeed, there are no slouches in the entire cast), and the film is packed with fantastic moments which will remain forever in your memory. (The soundtrack is brilliant too). The Coens are variable film makers, but this is one of their Grade A efforts. So if you've never seen it, I order you to please stop reading this now and go out and get yourself a copy. You will thank me later.

For whatever reason - even though I clearly love the film - I'd never actually read the Dashiell Hammett novel which inspired it. Perhaps it was because I didn't know what `inspired by' actually meant. The film isn't a straight adaptation of the book, so is that inspiration obscure and oblique, or is it blatant and obvious? The answer is very much the latter. They share a similar setting, the relationship between the two central characters, the spark of a mob war, some great dialogue and even all that stuff about the hats. (You'll understand when you see the film.) Even if I didn't know that this was the inspiration, I'd have spotted it almost immediately anyway.

I always dislike reading a book after I've seen the film, as I normally end up just comparing one to the other, but in this case it was unavoidable. However trying to judge it on its own merits, I will say that this is a thrilling read which kept this reader permanently on edge.
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