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LindaHilton

Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

The Jews in America: The Roots, History, and Destiny of American Jews
Max I. Dimont
Progress: 17 %
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Ibram X. Kendi
Progress: 22/750 pages
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer
The Power of Myth
Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers
Progress: 20 %

The Thin Man . . . and the pink panther

The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

I'm not sure I read this book the right way, meaning the way it was intended to be read.

 

As a serious noir mystery, I don't think it worked.  At least it didn't for me.  Since I have the book for another two and a half weeks from the library, I may read The Maltese Falcon for comparison.  Though it's been years and years and years, I've seen the movie of the latter and have some sense of the mood and atmosphere.  I've never seen the William Powell/Myrna Loy film of The Thin Man, though I remember the tone of the TV series with Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk.

 

Therefore, I read The Thin Man with more than a little of my tongue in my cheek.  As a comedy, it worked a lot better than it would have as a straight mystery.

 

Part of that may have been the historical time frame, too.  The 1930s with Prohibition and its gangsters and speak-easies as well as the Depression didn't mesh with the flippancy Nick Charles brought to the story, not to mention his drinking.  The various criminals who populate that New York winter's tale are almost caricatures; few of them are fleshed out into serious characters.  Most of them aren't very bright, either, providing another nice contrast to the cool, suave, brilliant Mr. Charles.

 

The dashing to and fro between the hotels and the dives at all hours of the day and night brought to mind the Keystone Cops.

 

Nick didn't do anything that the police couldn't have done, and he didn't even want to do it.  The fact that he resolved the case, almost without trying, added to the comedic aspect.  The police couldn't be taken seriously any more than Mimi and Dorothy could.

 

Once I set aside the notion of taking the story seriously, it was a lot easier to read and enjoy.  If it was supposed to be taken seriously, on the other hand, it would have fallen totally flat.

 

Asta, on the other hand, is always cool.