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review 2017-09-17 16:18
The Thin Man
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

It isn´t a good sign for a book if the dog, who gets occasionally mentioned, is the best thing about the whole story. I loved Asta.

 

And that´s about the only thing I liked about this book. Having read Raymond Chandler´s Farewell, my Lovely about a week ago, I can´t help to compare these two books. Where Chandler´s work has a flawed, yet likable main character, a gripping and fast-paced story and awesome dialogues, The Thin Man has a bunch of lunatics wading through a story that didn´t grip me at all. 

 

If there has been some witty banter between the characters, I didn´t get it. Nick is a complete ass, Nora is bordering between being idiotic and smart (depending on her alcohol level, I guess), Mimi should have a ward of her own in a mental asylum and don´t get me started on her two children. The Wynants are the prime example of a dysfunctional family. 

 

I had a slight suspicion about the ending

 

Clyde Wynant being dead all the time

(spoiler show)

but in the end I couldn´t care less about this book.

 

Since I have read this for the halloween bingo buddy read, I´m allowed to use it for any square I want. I´m choosing the "Magical Realism" square, since I´m not in the mood for this genre at the moment.

 

 

 

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review 2017-09-17 16:01
The Thin Man by Dasheill Hammett
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

Julia Wolf is dead, shot no less than four times. Secretary to the somewhat infamous inventor and all-together missing, Clyde Wynant, everyone is looking to him for answers - his lawyer, the police, his ex-wife, his children...and by plea of letter (and Nora's pushing) Nick Charles, once private detective, current moneyed-by-marriage lush.

 

As a mystery goes this book was kind of a mess, no? It was always to be thus, most of the players are completely unreliable - the pathological liar, the silly girl, the morbid boy, the two-faced, the greedy, the down-right stupid, the love-sick...there's not a one among them with their head on their shoulders, or with their head in the game so to say. Poor Nick and Nora, surrounded by fools wrecking their drinking holiday, having to put it all together for everyone.

 

I didn't end up enjoying it for the mystery. I did enjoy it for the humor and banter. Nick and Nora's jovial teasing and Nick's sometimes sarcastic wit directed to those stumbling around him, made the book.

 

Set during the end days of prohibition, I can only imagine that Nick and Nora were on a holiday to drink, where speaks were a plenty and everyone had closeted booze. I'm sure it was a bit of a social status to have a bottle or two in your home, in your desk drawer, in your boudoir - and all these people were so silly. It certainly read like a comedy to me at those times and I didn't take it very seriously. And I'd have to leave it like that instead of acknowledging that Hammett had his own battles with drink and tumultuous relationships -that he chose to only show the 'best of' in his fictional writing makes a sad sort of sense.

 

Over all, I will probably read more of Dasheill Hammett - at least his two more popular works, The Maltese Falcon and Red Harvest. I have a hunch those will be more oriented to the genre. The saving grace for me and The Thin Man is that I didn't have any story expectations, just that I knew that Nick and Nora were characters not to be missed.

 

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text 2017-09-17 14:10
Reading progress update: I've read 223 out of 223 pages.
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

"Have it your own way," she said, "but I always thought detectives waited until they had every little detail fixed in -"

"And then wonder why the suspects had time to get to the farthest country that has no extradition treaty."

She laughed. "All right, all right. Still want to leave for San Francisco tomorrow?"

"Not unless you´re in a hurry. Let´s stick around a while. This excitement has put us behind in our drink."

 

I did it. I´m done with this book.

 

[Source]

 

Ugh, this book and the ending. All of a sudden Nick pulls the murderer and the motive out of a hat and I´m just thinking "whatever".

 

But I would like to ask, has anyone else been impressed by Nick explaining the case to Nora? He must have had quite a few drinks under his belt to form so many coherent sentences in a row.

 

And another question (for OB and Moonlight): Am I allowed to use this buddy read for a square of my own choosing, whether or not it fits the description of the square?

 

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text 2017-09-17 12:22
Reading progress update: I've read 165 out of 223 pages.
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

"He´s coming up," I told Nora. "He´s had breakfast, but you´d better order some coffee for him. I want chicken livers."

 

Chicken liver for breakfast. Mmh, yummy. If I would be Nora, this would be the moment that I would file for a divorce.

 

 And this is pure gold as well:

 

"[...] How about something to cut the phlegm?"

"Why don´t you stay sober today?"

"We didn´t come to New York to stay sober. [...]"

 

You don´t say. God, I´m so glad when I´m done with this book.

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review 2017-09-17 12:08
More banter, and I'd have been set
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

In a stark time-marches-on fashion, this one is very much a politically incorrect book all around. Since I don't mind that, I was enjoying it, but at some point around a third in, Nora stopped participating in dialogues and got relegated to audience surrogate, and I wasn't having as much fun.

 

I don't know that I was invested much in the mystery

I figured Wynant had to be dead, and someone was impersonating him for money. His not showing up anywhere was obvious pretty early.

(spoiler show)

but I have to confess I stayed for the train-wreck the characters are. As a rule, I avoid noir because it relies too much on drudgery, dialogue error and backtrack, and it bores me. Here, everyone is so messed up or downright insane I could get my jollies from their hijinks (sometimes horror inducing ones), and I coasted the whole book on this amused sense that I was reading a cast of grotesques caricatures.

 

Call me morbid, I had fun.

 

 

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