The Classic Corner Review: The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett

 Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Vintage (July 17, 1989)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0679722637
ISBN-13: 978-0679722632
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Nick Charles – A retired detective.
Nora Charles – Nick’s Wife.


Nick and Nora Charles are visiting New York City when he’s approached by Dorothy Wynant, the daughter of an old friend. She’s wanting to enlist Nick’s aid in finding her Father, Claude Wynant, whose turned up missing. Nick agrees to investigate, and so the mystery begins.


This book is kind of a mix between the hard boiled detective and the cozy mystery. There is a lot of humor built into the story, especially the conversations between Nick and Nora. The characters of Nick and Nora themselves are classics and most likely gave us characters such as Hart to Hart and Luke and Laura Spencer. The hard boiled aspects come into play in some of the language, etc. used. For the time period this was written in, some of the language seems quite strong.

There are some scenes of violence but nothing too graphic. And some strong language. For that reason, I’d give it a PG or PG-13 rating. As for the story itself you are taken on the journey as Nick questions first this person, and then another on his quest to eventually uncover “The Thin Man”.

I think it’s a shame that more of these books weren’t made. I really like the characters, and while only one book seems to have been written, they gave birth to numerous movies. If you like mysteries, and good character interraction, then pick this up. I think you’ll like it.

About the author:

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.

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