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The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett is a well-known hardboiled detective novel, set in 1920s New York. Nick Charles is a former private detective who is now married to Nora, a wealthy socialite. They spend most of their time getting drunk in hotel rooms and speakeasies, until they are both drawn to the Wyant family.

The father, Clyde Wyant, has gone missing along with thousands of dollars; the daughter is slightly insane and drunk most of the time; the mother knows more than she’s telling and the man she is married to (as she is divorced from Clyde) turns out to have fabricated his identity in order to get money from his wife’s ex-husband.

The title is a reference to a diversion in the story of a skeletonized body found buried underneath a store. It is assumed the clothes indicated the body was that of a “fat man,” but it turns out it is a decoy and the body is that of a “thin man” who turns out to be the missing man, Clyde Wyant.

There is a lot of banter and dialogue back and forth between most of the characters, especially Nick and Nora. And like The Big Sleep there is a lot of slang from the 1920s. So I was surprised to find that instead of a straight detective story, all the characters do is drink, talk, live the extravagant life of the roaring ’20s, and then happen to solve a big mystery in the very end.

The book was okay, I was hoping for a bit more Chinatown than Great Gatsby. I would say if you want to read a detective story set in the 1920s-1930s, read The Big Sleep instead – or just watch Chinatown!


{  } Pretty bad
{  } Tolerable
{x} All right
{  } Exciting
{  } Enthralling

Book 27 out of 60