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Return of the Thin Man: Two never-before-published novellas featuring Nick & Nora Charles Hardcover – November 6, 2012
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"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
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Top Customer Reviews
Many fascinating facts about Hammett's characters come to light in the commentaries to three previously unpublished Thin Man stories in "Return of the Thin Man."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.Read more ›
What is touted as a "novella" is in fact, a screenplay. For example:
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.
The former Pinkerton detective turned to writing detective stories when he was afflicted with tuberculosis, a disease that would plague him most of his adult life. He wrote stories for “the pulps” – popular detective magazines and a series of novels that set the standard for noir fiction, and in fact likely still set the standard.
He published “Red Harvest” in 1929, followed by “The Dain Curse” that same year. Then came :The Maltese Falcon” in 1930, “The Glass Key” in 1931, and “The Thin Man” in 1934. The novels are written tightly and concisely, and are full of action, unexpected turns, and a fair amount of violence. (One of Hammett’s fellow noir writers, Philip Marlowe, gave this writing advice to authors facing writing blocks: “When in doubt, have to men come in the door with guns.”) A group of his stories was published as “The Continental Op.”
Hammett’s influence on writers – and on the movies – extended far beyond noir fiction. He’s considered so influential, in fact, that Library of America has published a volume of his novels and a volume of his short stories.
My first awareness of Dashiell Hammett was watching The Thing Man movies of the 1930s and early 1940s on television. Starring William Powell as detective Nick Charles and Myrna Loy as his wife Nora, the movies were widely popular when they were first released. If you’re familiar with the movies at all, it’s almost impossible to see anyone but William Powell when you read the Hammett novel.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book. The main character and his wife have a great sense of humor.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Just like the movies. I didn't know he was involved in the screenplays. His version apparently toned down a bit.Published 1 month ago by Peter Grosso
Return of the Thin Man
Dashiell Hammett wrote short stories and novels that were popular successes. Read more
Interesting characters and plots. Fast and funny reading. More facts on the writer, Dashiell Hammett, that wasn't know to many people.Published 10 months ago by Mj7055
I love the Thin Man movies. You can imagine Powell/Loy and the other people in the story. I had never read Hammett before, can't wait to read more of his stuff.Published 11 months ago by Jan Bridges
I have the movies but had never read the writings. I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look about the author and why the screen plays were ever written. Read morePublished 12 months ago by isadora
I guess I misunderstood. I was hoping for novels, but these are Dashiell Hammett's scripts for the movies I know and like so much.Published 13 months ago by CAPT Bob