The Thin Man

The Thin Man

by Dashiell Hammett
4.1 51

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The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

In Dashiell Hammett's famous crime novel, we meet one of the detective-story master's most enchanting creations, Nick and Nora Charles, a rich, glamorous couple who solve homicides in between wisecracks and martinis. At once knowing and unabashedly romantic, The Thin Man is a classic murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307767509
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/05/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 37,651
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Dashiell Samuel Hammett was born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. 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.

Date of Birth:

May 27, 1894

Date of Death:

January 10, 1961

Place of Birth:

St. Mary, Maryland

Place of Death:

New York


Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

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The Thin Man 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
slimikin More than 1 year ago
Nick and Nora Charles are enjoying Christmas in New York, with its merry round of parties, speakeasies, and the theatre, when a young woman approaches Nick and asks whether he's heard from her father. Nick recognizes the girl as Dorothy Wynant, whom he last knew years ago when he worked a case for the girl's father, eccentric inventor Clyde Wynant. Nick used to be a private detective, but as he explains to Dorothy, he's no longer in the trade. Not that his insistence on that fact means anything when Clyde Wynant's assistant suddenly turns up dead. The police, the former Mrs. Wynant, mob enforcers, Clyde Wynant's lawyer, even Nick's wife---everyone seems to believe Nick should be working the case. And despite his protests, Nick finds himself intrigued. There are plenty of suspects, and Nick can't entirely accept that the most obvious one---Clyde Wynant, himself---is the real culprit. I don't read mystery often, but when I do, it's usually of the hard-boiled detective variety. Considering that The Thin Man is a well-known classic in that genre, it's unsurprising that I enjoyed reading it. Nick and Nora Charles are charming, the mystery compelling, and the minor characters engaging.even if they are familiar types. I loved Nick's voice, and the fast-paced patter of dialogue, although I will say I rather missed some of the more atmospheric, noirish description I've encountered in other hard-boiled detective fiction. Still, The Thin Man is a lot of fun, and the perfect introduction to a classic author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let me begin by noting that I am reviewing the audio cassette version of The Thin Man that stars Daniel J. Travanti as Nick Charles and Lynne Lipton as his young and wealthy wife, Nora. 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. I would like to especially note that the acting by Daniel J. Travanti as Nick brings a great sensitivity to the role. When I read the book, I put a snarl into a lot of the Nick lines when he is beset by yet another visitor or telephone call. Mr. Travanti wisely chooses to share an equivocal openness instead. I think his reading is correct, and added much to my appreciation of the story. Whoever cast him for this role deserves commendation as well. 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. I rated this audio cassette version for 5 stars based on the story line about the nature of modern people and relationships, and the superb acting by Mr. Travanti. After enjoying this dramatization of the story, I suggest that you think about what temptations are difficult for you to resist. How will those temptations undermine your life and your relationships? How can you occupy yourself in ways so that there will either be less temptation or you will be more able to resist it? To your good health and that of all your relationships! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this was the last novel completed by Hammett, he did live for over twenty-six more years until 1961. The story introduced the dashing couple Nick and Nora Charles. If you entertain romantic notions about New York City in the 1930's, this will help you enjoy the book.
drmarc More than 1 year ago
Just a pleasure to read. Good detective story and great period piece. It's what made him and Raymond Chandler so appealing.
Anonymous 10 months ago
R_Hinshaw More than 1 year ago
Four and a half stars. I had been looking forward to reading this as I had been a fan of the classic film series starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Compared to the film, which was released later the same year (1934) the book is considerably more cynical and the characters and situations more sordid. The newly-enacted Hayes Code meant that some of the darker elements of the novel’s text are subdued into subtext in the film. Fans of the movie might be disappointed that Nora isn’t quite as much a part of the action in the book, but in general their dynamic is the same. The humor makes this one seem lighter than Hammett’s other novels, but it is still a good mystery and a fun read. The success of the novel and especially the film series (Hammett contributed to the story of at least two of the sequels) established the archetype of the playfully bickering couple who solve crimes together such as ‘Hart to Hart’ or ‘Castle’.
GoLoTu More than 1 year ago
Interesting to read and see the beginning style,format and plot techniques that have morphed into so much of the genre today. It's like a preview of things to come, giving a hint of of possibilities but not quite completing the picture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Successful in a B movies series as mysteries then were not yet biggies until bogart. Humourous society departure from grim grime that both might be subjects for aaa was a convention of the period think there might have been a book sequel but not sure as mixed up with movies
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Classic noir fun read
MysteryLoverMC More than 1 year ago
Going on vacation, I decided to take along some recognized classics. I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Dashiell Hammett is always a good read no matter how familiar with his novels you may be.
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pod49 More than 1 year ago
'The Thin Man' was Hammett's last novel. Unlike 'The Maltese Falcon' which had a mean and lean quality to it with characters you can't forget, his last novel seemed padded and most of his characters uninteresting. He wastes four and a half pages in telling the story of cannibalism in the old west. This would be a good technique if the story related to the current story. For example, if the story mentioned some treasure that disappeared and now people are getting killed because of the treasure. This is one of those rare times that I liked the movie rather than the novel. I gave 'The Thin Man' two stars. Even though I was disappointed with this novel, Hammett is still better than the people who try to imitate him. I guess that his time working as an operative for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency put a little edge in his writing. As a wanabe writer, I know you can do research and try to make things realistic, but if you have lived what you are writing about - you can put in all those little details that will let your readers know that you have 'street cred'. R Hemingway
Anonymous More than 1 year ago