Return of the Thin Man

Overview


Dashiell Hammett was a crime writer who elevated the genre to true literature, and The Thin Man was Hammett's last?and most successful?novel. Following the enormous success of "The Thin Man" movie in 1934, Hammett was commissioned to write stories for additional films. He wrote two full-length novellas, for the films that became "After the Thin Man" and "Another Thin Man." Bringing back his classic characters, retired private investigator Nick Charles and his former debutante wife Nora, who return home to find ...
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Return of the Thin Man

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Overview


Dashiell Hammett was a crime writer who elevated the genre to true literature, and The Thin Man was Hammett's last—and most successful—novel. Following the enormous success of "The Thin Man" movie in 1934, Hammett was commissioned to write stories for additional films. He wrote two full-length novellas, for the films that became "After the Thin Man" and "Another Thin Man." Bringing back his classic characters, retired private investigator Nick Charles and his former debutante wife Nora, who return home to find Nora’s family gardener murdered, pulling the couple back into another deadly game of cat and mouse. Hammett has written two fully satisfying "Thin Man" stories, with classic, barbed Hammett dialogue and fully developed characters.

Neither of these stories has been previously published (except for a partial in a small magazine 25 years ago). The Return of the Thin Man is a hugely entertaining read that brings back two classic characters from one of the greatest of mystery writers who ever lived. This book is destined to become essential reading for Hammett's millions of fans and a new generation of mystery readers the world over.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hammett completists and film fans will best appreciate this collection containing the story treatments that became After the Thin Man (1936) and Another Thin Man (1939), the sequels to the original Hollywood hit, The Thin Man (1934), starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as imbibing investigators Nick and Nora Charles, abetted by their adorable dog, Asta. Written in movie shorthand (“Nick and Nora exchange suspicious glances”), these treatments don’t represent Hammett’s artistic peak, though there’s the occasional nugget (“He is having the first ‘clean’ love affair of his life and thinks this slut is Joan of Arc”). Hammett scholar Richard Layman and Hammett’s granddaughter, Julie M. Rivett, provide background on such matters as negotiations with MGM. Amazingly, the alcoholic author reported he spent 10 months sober while writing one of these bibulous scripts. In the 1939 effort, one of the two words uttered by the infant Nick Jr. is drunk. A short unproduced treatment from 1938 titled “Sequel to the Thin Man” rounds out the book. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR RETURN OF THE THIN MAN

"This first unabridged appearance of two Nick and Nora Charles 'novellas' by Hammett should be an occasion for delight, and it is." —The Wall Street Journal

"Read Return of the Thin Man and rediscover why Dashiell Hammett was the peerless master of crime fiction in all its dark and bloody glory." —New York Journal of Books

"A volume no fan of Hammett's, of Nick and Nora Charles, of 'The Thin Man' series should even think of doing without." —The Huffington Post

PRAISE FOR DASHIELL HAMMETT

"I think Hammett's stories are about the best there are." —Ross MacDonald

"Hammett's prose was clean and entirely unique. His characters were as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction." —The New York Times

"Hammett . . . wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before." —Raymond Chandler

"The exuberance of language, the relish with which seedieness is described . . . it's a pleasure to imagine young Hammett cutting loose with whatever rascally high jinks he could cook up." —Margaret Atwood

"An acknowledged literary landmark." —The New York Times Book Review

Kirkus Reviews
Yet another trip to the Hammett archive discloses the two screen stories on which the films After the Thin Man (1936) and Another Thin Man (1939) were based, along with a bonus, an unproduced (and probably unproducible) outline for a Sequel to The Thin Man. The biggest surprise here is how closely the husband-and-wife team of Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett hewed to Hammett's novella-length stories in preparing the two films' screenplays. Fans of the films will find virtually all the suspects and plot twists already present in Hammett, together with much of the banter between retired detective Nick Charles and his socialite wife, Nora, all wrapped up in the lightly comic tone established by The Thin Man (1934). Who would have thought that Hammett himself wrote Nick's burlesque response to the invitation from Nora's aunt's butler to "walk this way," or that Goodrich and Hackett were mainly responsible for streamlining and simplifying Hammett's twisty storylines and providing more business for Nora, whom Hammett tends to slight in favor of her more active husband? After the Thin Man--which takes the couple back to San Francisco to meet the corpse of Nora's former gardener, and eventually that of her cousin Selma's missing husband--is the more amusing, more inventive, and more satisfyingly mystifying of the two. Another Thin Man--which, borrowing much of its material from Hammett's story "The Farewell Murder," presents the couple with an infant son before they're summoned to the Long Island estate of imperious Colonel Burr MacFay, the ex-partner of Nora's late father, whose choleric conviction that he's going to be murdered is eventually proved correct--offers more for Nora to do, though in an altogether more domestic role. Judicious editors Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett provide a notable addendum to the Hammett canon, even if both tales and their brief addendum read like screen treatments and the volume's title perpetuates the canard that the thin man is Nick Charles.
New York Times

“Peter Ganim and Nicola Barber manage a breezy idiom that evokes both the desperate gaiety of the period and the sophisticated airs of Hammett’s urbane sleuths. Scott Brick narrates the story in crisp tones, and a huge ensemble cast—unusual in a form that relies mainly on solo-voice performances—puts much character color into Nora&#8217s rich and snooty relatives and Nick’s many lowlife friends.”
New York Times

Wisconsin Bookwatch

“Caustic dialogue, shocking plot twists, and edge-of-one’s-seat suspense characterize these masterpieces of crime fiction, brought vividly to life with a stellar full-cast performance. Return of the Thin Man is an absolute ‘must-have’ for fans of Hammett’swork.”
Wisconsin Bookwatch

Booklist

“Scott Brick . . . Holds our attention. . . . Ganim nails retired private investigator Nick Charles’ ethanol-fueled unflappability and smoothly honed wit, making Charles an ideal match and occasional foil for . . . Nora, played by Nicola Barber with wicked humor and worldly forbearance. . . . Hammett fans, new and established, will be pleased.”
Booklist

From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR RETURN OF THE THIN MAN

"This first unabridged appearance of two Nick and Nora Charles 'novellas' by Hammett should be an occasion for delight, and it is." —The Wall Street Journal

"Read Return of the Thin Man and rediscover why Dashiell Hammett was the peerless master of crime fiction in all its dark and bloody glory." —New York Journal of Books

"A volume no fan of Hammett's, of Nick and Nora Charles, of 'The Thin Man' series should even think of doing without." —The Huffington Post

PRAISE FOR DASHIELL HAMMETT

"I think Hammett's stories are about the best there are." —Ross MacDonald

"Hammett's prose was clean and entirely unique. His characters were as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction." —The New York Times

"Hammett . . . wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before." —Raymond Chandler

"The exuberance of language, the relish with which seedieness is described . . . it's a pleasure to imagine young Hammett cutting loose with whatever rascally high jinks he could cook up." —Margaret Atwood

"An acknowledged literary landmark." —The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802120502
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/6/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 486,037
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, screenplay writer, and political activist. He created enduring characters including Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse).

Biography

Dashiell Samuel Hammett was born in St. Mary's County. He grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hammett left school at the age of fourteen and held several kinds of jobs thereafter -- messenger boy, newsboy, clerk, operator, and stevedore, finally becoming an operative for Pinkerton's Detective Agency. Sleuthing suited young Hammett, but World War I intervened, interrupting his work and injuring his health.

When Sergeant Hammett was discharged from the last of several hospitals, he resumed detective work. He soon turned to writing, and in the late 1920s Hammett became the unquestioned master of detective-story fiction in America. In The Maltese Falcon (1930) he first introduced his famous private eye, Sam Spade. The Thin Man (1932) offered another immortal sleuth, Nick Charles. Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), and The Glass Key (1931) are among his most successful novels. During World War II, Hammett again served as sergeant in the Army, this time for more than two years, most of which he spent in the Aleutians.

Hammett's later life was marked in part by ill health, alcoholism, a period of imprisonment related to his alleged membership in the Communist Party, and by his long-time companion, the author Lillian Hellman, with whom he had a very volatile relationship. His attempt at autobiographical fiction survives in the story "Tulip," which is contained in the posthumous collection The Big Knockover (1966, edited by Lillian Hellman). Another volume of his stories, The Continental Op (1974, edited by Stephen Marcus), introduced the final Hammett character: the "Op," a nameless detective (or "operative") who displays little of his personality, making him a classic tough guy in the hard-boiled mold -- a bit like Hammett himself.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Dashiell Hammett (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 27, 1894
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Mary, Maryland
    1. Date of Death:
      January 10, 1961
    2. Place of Death:
      New York

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    love the nick and nora mysteries

    love the nick and nora mysteries

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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