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Return of the Thin Man: Two never-before-published novellas featuring Nick & Nora Charles Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; 1St Edition edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802120504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802120502
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

PRAISE FOR RETURN OF THE THIN MAN

"This first unabridged appearance of two Nick and Nora Charles 'novellas' by Hammett should be an occasion for delight, and it is." —The Wall Street Journal

"Read Return of the Thin Man and rediscover why Dashiell Hammett was the peerless master of crime fiction in all its dark and bloody glory." —New York Journal of Books

"A volume no fan of Hammett's, of Nick and Nora Charles, of 'The Thin Man' series should even think of doing without." —The Huffington Post

PRAISE FOR DASHIELL HAMMETT

"I think Hammett's stories are about the best there are." —Ross MacDonald

"Hammett's prose was clean and entirely unique. His characters were as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction." —The New York Times

"Hammett . . . wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before." —Raymond Chandler

"The exuberance of language, the relish with which seedieness is described . . . it's a pleasure to imagine young Hammett cutting loose with whatever rascally high jinks he could cook up." —Margaret Atwood

"An acknowledged literary landmark." —The New York Times Book Review

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).

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Customer Reviews

Again Hammett's screenplay was very noticeably altered before it appeared on screen.
Jeanne Tassotto
What makes this book really wonderful is being able to read the books and watch the movies that they turned into at the same time.
Grant Fritchey
The plot moves between unlikely and incomprehensible as this story seems like one effort too many.
The Ginger Man

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 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. By the way, most people think "Thin Man" refers to the Nick Charles character, or perhaps even alluded to slim, elegant Hammett himself. But the titular character in Hammett's original 1934 novel was actually murdered eccentric inventor Clyde Wynant.

That's one of the fascinating facts revealed 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.
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23 of 24 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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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Lebryk TOP 50 REVIEWER on October 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Never Before Published Novellas by Dashiell Hammett - The Thin Man Series - Sign me up, overnight me the book, I can't wait to read this secret, never before seen, literature. Oh was I ever sorry when this book showed up. If I read plays, or enjoyed reading plays, I might enjoy this book. But I don't find theater or film scripts riveting reading.

The Thin Man series of movies staring William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Asta are my favorite films. I own them on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD; and have watched them so many times I lost count long ago. They are a family favorite and movies I dearly love. Long ago I read several Hammett books, I loved them. I also love the movies that have been made from those books. Hammett and Lillian Hellman, I grew up in love with their books.

The day this book arrived, I tore open the box, flipped to a random page, and horror of horror, there was no novella printed there. No there was a shooting script, with some camera and editing direction on those pages. I put that book down for several weeks, I was that disappointed.

Last night, I bucked up and thought, hey this will be fun, and I'll watch the movie and read the script at the same time. Maybe there will be some interesting insight to the film in here. It will only take me an hour and a half to do that, so that could be fun. It got worse. What is published in these books was an initial script Hammett was under contract to deliver to MGM. There were other writers that changed the script around, manipulated it, and made the final film. The changes weren't really all that interesting - well maybe on a scholarly or purely historical level. Did it really matter that the word Negro was used, that certain scenes were reversed, some dialog changed, but other left intact?
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