The Thin Man
by Dashiell Hammett
If you have spent any amount of time doing crossword puzzles, you probably know that Nick and Nora Charles are the couple at the center of this story, and their dog's name is Asta. If you didn't know that, you now know the solution to an average of 1.5 clues in every crossword puzzle you'll ever run across. Roughly. Is it reasonable for crossword writers to expect you to know whose dog Asta is? For the generation that grew up listening to the popular radio show, based on the movie
, based on this book, the answer is yes. The rest of you just have to figure it out on your own.
Nick is a former operative for a detective agency, whose wife Nora came into some money. Since then they have been living the high life in San Francisco. Now they are back in New York, staying in a nice hotel, drinking too much, and walking their dog into all kinds of places where they don't allow pets nowadays. Being a detective is all in Nick's past... until an eccentric inventor named Clyde Wynant, a former client of Nick's, disappears. And leaves his secretary lying murdered.
Now a lot of people want Nick to find Wynant, who is suspected of the killing. And a lot of people don't want Nick to find Wynant, who may not even be alive for all Nick and Nora know. Or Asta, for that matter.
Besides being a spiffy mystery, it's also a luxurious depiction of the way the Upper Half lived in the 1930s. The sort of book that makes you want to move to New York right now, if only it would be just like it was in about 1933. Maybe it isn't exactly Hammett's masterpiece, but it's got all the elements that make a good hardboiled crime novel-- with the interesting twist that the sleuth is happily married.
Parental advisory: this book depicts heavy alcohol use.
Recommended Age: 16+
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