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)|
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.