"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I picked up this Dashiell Hammett the other day.

Like many people I know, I like to reacquaint myself with novels from the noir canon every few years. Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain. Lots of good reading there and plenty of quips to work into everyday conversation.

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (Permabook, 1961)
The Thin Man, published in 1934, was Hammett's last novel and the light tone and overall humor distinguish it from say, The Dain Curse or The Maltese Falcon.

Plus, it's a great premise. What's not to love about a private investigator who marries a wealthy socialite and promptly retires? Nick and Nora Charles love to drink, they love their little dog Asta, and when a mystery presents itself, guess which wisecracking couple want to solve it together? You know, between cocktails.

Just as Bogart is inextricably linked with the character of Sam Spade, it's impossible to read about Nick and Nora Charles without picturing William Powell and Myrna Loy. The success of the first adaptation (also 1934) inspired five sequels, with the final entry, Song of the Thin Man, appearing in 1947.

Hammett got a story credit for the first sequel, After the Thin Man (1936), but did not write the screenplay and was not involved with the other films. 

While the "thin man" in Hammett's novel is a murder suspect, movie producers identified the character of Nick Charles as the "thin man" in order to tie the series together.

You know, because people who go to movies are stupid.

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