The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett (1934)

27 Oct

I do most of my reading right before bed. I’m pretty sleepy, and unless I’m very engaged in the story, I am prone to getting confused or mixing up characters. I’m thinking now that mysteries are the wrong kind of books for me at bedtime. With both Murder on the Orient Express and The Thin Man, I read through the story, had a general idea of what was going on, and then when I reached the resolution at the end, I’m like “Huh? What just happened?” And I feel like I missed a million different things. I read Hammett’s Red Harvest in college and having the same issue there. Again, I likely was probably reading during my overnight shifts in the computer lab, when I wasn’t entirely my sharpest.

The Thin Man is not a confusing story to the fully awake reader. There are quite a lot of characters, and the plot and dialog are fast paced. My difficulties in following things are totally tiredness/user error.

Nick and Nora, a swanky couple that just returned to New York, trade drinks and quips and although Nick swears he’s done with his detective years, they can’t avoid getting themselves pulled into a mystery. Nick gets wrapped up in investigating a murder of a young woman, which in turn pulls him into the world of an extremely bizarre family. The story is light, with quick fun dialog. A whole number of other strange questions and mysteries unfold in the course of the story, and now that I think about it, I’m now wondering whether they even solved the murder they set out to solve? I’ll have to google that.

I did not dislike the book, and I really wanted to love it, but I feel like I wasn’t following it closely enough to be able to do that. Perhaps I’ll give it another try sometime in the future, but for now I’ve got about 8 other books in the queue to get through.

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