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Return of the Thin Man Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews


“Peter Ganim and Nicola Barber shine as the witty Nick and Nora Charles, and Scott Brick’s narration securely anchors the story.”

(New York Times)

“Fans of the films will find virtually all the suspects and plot twists already present in Hammett, together with much of the banter between retired detective Nick Charles and his socialite wife, Nora, all wrapped up in the lightly comic tone established by [the original movie].”

(Wisconsin Bookwatch)

“Peter Ganim and Nicola Barber manage a breezy idiom that evokes both the desperate gaiety of the period and the sophisticated airs of Hammett’s urbane sleuths. Scott Brick narrates the story in crisp tones, and a huge ensemble cast—unusual in a form that relies mainly on solo-voice performances—puts much character color into Nora’s rich and snooty relatives and Nick’s many lowlife friends.”
      —New York Times

(Library Journal)

“Caustic dialogue, shocking plot twists, and edge-of-one’s-seat suspense characterize these masterpieces of crime fiction, brought vividly to life with a stellar full-cast performance. Return of the Thin Man is an absolute ‘must-have’ for fans of Hammett’swork.”
      —Wisconsin Bookwatch


“HighBridge Audio, the answer to hard-boiled mystery lovers’ dreams for more than a year with its outstanding ‘Black Mask Stories’ series, now offers a double dose of Dash! . . . Offering two solid mysteries plus scholarly extras, Return of the Thin Man is a hunk of Hammett heaven worth celebrating. Drinks are on Nick and Nora!”
      —Library Journal [starred review]

(Publishers Weekly)

“Scott Brick . . . Holds our attention. . . .  Ganim nails retired private investigator Nick Charles’ ethanol-fueled unflappability and smoothly honed wit, making Charles an ideal match and occasional foil for . . . Nora, played by Nicola Barber with wicked humor and worldly forbearance. . . . Hammett fans, new and established, will be pleased.”

“Narrators Peter Ganim and Nicola Barber do capture the charming, boozy banter of Nick and Nora. . . . Scott Brick’s narration—crisp, properly hardboiled, and highly energized—creates a subtle, pleasing atmosphere for the proceedings. Acting as a sort of audio host, he compliments the actors with an on-point rat-a-tat delivery.”
      —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

DASHIELL HAMMETT was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories, screenplay writer, and political activist. He created enduring characters including Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). He died in 1961 in New York City. As a veteran of two world wars, he is buried in Arlington Cemetery.

NICOLA BARBER has appeared on stage in New York and across the country, including with Scarlett Johnansson in <i>The Nanny Diaries.</i> She holds a degree in theatre arts from UNC-Chapel Hill, and has taken classes at the London Academy of Dramatic Art. She has been training and performing voiceovers since 2001, and can be heard in video games, animation, commercials, and corporate videos, as well as on award-winning audiobooks.

Actor, screenwriter and audiobook narrator, SCOTT BRICK definitely gives new meaning to a hyphenate career with credits in film, television, stage and radio. He studied both acting and writing at UCLA, spent ten years with a traveling Shakespearean company, and then went on to become a freelance writer. In 2000, Brick ventured into narrating audiobooks and quickly found himself embraced by the audio world. He’s won numerous Earphones Awards for his narrating skills, as well as Audie Awards. AudioFile Magazine named Brick “one of the fastest-rising stars in the audiobook galaxy,” and proclaimed him a Golden Voice.

PETER GANIM is an award-winning stage, film and television actor and the narrator of over 100 audiobooks. He lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 435 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press-HighBridge Audio; Unabridged,Unabridged; 7.25 hours edition (October 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611749093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611749090
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Terry Sunday TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The subject of this book surely needs no introduction to fans of the late Dashiell Hammett, who remains one of America's most-renowned crime fiction writers even more than 50 years after his death. Hammett created many memorable characters (in all senses of the word), including detective Sam Spade and the Continental Op. But arguably his most popular characters are the bantering husband-and-wife duo of Nick and Nora Charles as featured in the "Thin Man" series of books and motion pictures.

Many fascinating facts about Hammett's characters come to light in the commentaries to three previously unpublished Thin Man stories in "Return of the Thin Man." The Introduction, Headnotes and Afterwords in this volume provide interesting contextual details to "After the Thin Man," "Another Thin Man" and "Sequel to the Thin Man." The commentaries make "Return of the Thin Man" more worth reading than the stories themselves, in my opinion, because the "stories" are not really stories--two of them are screenplays and the third is what probably would be called today a "treatment." "After the Thin Man" (108 pages) and "Another Thin Man" (92 pages) feature good descriptions of the appearances of characters and scene elements, and much of Hammett's trademark snappy dialogue simply follows a colon after the name of the character who speaks it. What's missing are insights into the thought processes and internal feelings of the characters. These two stories are purely audio-visual. They describe what the audience would see on the screen, and what the characters would say, but nothing about the WHY of their actions. As such, they lack the vital layers of narrative information that would make them true novelettes.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By W. Sanders VINE VOICE on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Some years ago I read Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon" and then saw the movie of the same name (not for the first time.) I was surprised by how closely the dialogue in the movie matched that in the book, and both the movie and book are tops as far as I'm concerned. So, it was with great joy that I found "Return of the Thin Man" touted as two novellas. Now I don't care whether a book is a full-blown book or a novella, I was looking forward to reading a never-before-published novella by Dashiell Hammett.

What is touted as a "novella" is in fact, a screenplay. For example:

Nick: "Thanks."
Polly and the detective go out.
Abrams: "That mean anything to you?"

After reading several pages, I came to the painful realization, that this is not a novella. It's a screenplay. I'd even take a thinly disguised novella, but the more I read, the more that I realized that this was not going to turn into a novella because I read more. Quite the opposite. It became clearer that it stayed a screenplay. (On the inside title page, the material is referred to as "Original Screen Stories," but the differences between a screen story and a screenplay must be subtle, and neither reads as a novel or even a novella.)

Richard Layman's introduction is excellent and so is some of the end material that tells the story of how the author and the studio came to produce the movie and got Hammett to write the stories. However, screenplays (or screen stories) just don't stack up to novels as readable for me. Maybe actors, directors or screenplay writers may like this kind of thing, but for me it was like reading the recipe for pumpkin pie. Just didn't do it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dashiell Hammett is famous for rebuilding the mystery genre away from mere intellectual puzzles, into complex realms of psychological realism. But he only published five novels. So when a publisher claims to have discovered two previously unknown novellas in his personal papers, you can imagine the excitement among mystery fans worldwide. And I can imagine the disappointment they'll feel when they actually read these stories.

Hammett's fifth and final novel, The Thin Man, differs from his prior works in its sense of humor. The culture clash between hard-bitten, alcoholic Nick Charles, and his glamorous wife Nora's old-money world, enlivened by the kind of quick banter Hammett perfected, remains funny decades later. That's saying something, since humor doesn't age well. Not for nothing is the movie adaptation, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, considered classic.

But by the time The Thin Man hit shelves, Hammett had already grown bored of his own fame. Publishers, fans, movie studios, and paparazzi all thought they owned a piece of him. He felt estranged from the world he wrote about, and cared more about leftist politics than about his six-book contract, which remained incomplete at his death, nearly twenty years later. A known drunk with a razor tongue, Hammett was turning into Nick Charles.

These two novellas, written under contract for MGM, provide a glimpse into a mind on the verge of collapse. But calling them novellas does them, and Hammett, an injustice. These are screen treatments that the studio would turn into the movies After the Thin Man and Another Thin Man. And they look like exactly what they are, screen treatments. Hammett dedicates all his energy to action and dialog, and none to the atmospherics that make his novels so powerful.
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