Friday, February 10, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Thin Man

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, read by William Dufris, 2011 (originally published in 1932). Time: 5.9 hours (6 discs). Published by AudioGo. Source: Audiobook Jukebox/published.

A value-priced collection containing two of Dashiell Hammett's most legendary hardboiled detective novels. The Thin Man: Introducing Nick and Nora Charles, New York’s coolest crime-solving couple. Nick retired from detecting after his wife inherited a tidy sum, but six years later a pretty blonde spies him at a speakeasy and asks for his help finding her father, an eccentric inventor who was once Nick’s client. Nick can't resist, and soon he and Nora are caught in a complicated web of confused identities and cold-blooded murder. The Maltese Falcon: PI Sam Spade is a loner who follows his own code and the rules of the street as he zeros in on his partner's killer and the famous jewel-encrusted bird.
First Sentence:

I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on Fifty-second Street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me.           

This is actually my second book by Dashiell Hammett that I have either read or listened to. It was good, but not nearly as good as The Maltese Falcon, which is one of the next audio books on lineup.

One of the reasons I really wanted to review The Thin Man is that I had read and enjoyed The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett a year or so ago and wanted to try another book by him. Was it worth my time, yes and no. I really enjoyed the intrigue and hint of danger behind the murder of Julia and that just as you thought you were close to finding out the identity of the killer the suspect would wind up dead. I really enjoyed the mystery was not too straight forward and that there were plenty of twists and turns in the case.

The characters actually kind of dragged the story down. They, well, mainly Nick was just a little to dry in speech and mannerisms and his dry observations of the goings on did not really help out because I would find my attention fleeing briefly at times. So, while Nick may not have been the most fascinating character to read about I did like how he seemed to always be two steps ahead of the local police concerning what really happened. It was also pretty amazing that here he is "retired" and what's he doing, getting caught up right smack-dab in the middle of a case.
The one character that I really liked was Nora, Nick's wife. I thought she was an interesting addition to the cast because she was enthralled by mystery of Julia's murder.

The one thing I really enjoyed about The Thin Man would have to be the actual mystery behind the murder of Julia Wolf, and the various characters that would had a good reason for wanting her out of the picture. While the mystery was not nearly as fascinating as an Agatha Christie one, I did find it to be done quite well and the fact that I did not guess who the true murderer was till near the end was nice.

While the Thin Man was an enjoyable book to listen to there is one aspect that was quite disappointing. Mr. Hammett's characters seemed to lack any depth and there was little to know character development throughout the book, which I found to be odd. Even though the characters are not that...stimulating, I thought that he did a fairly decent job of creating an intriguing mystery.


William Dufris did a really good job and was pretty much perfect when it came to voicing Nick Charles. I thought that he did an excellent job with Nick's dry and slightly bored attitude.
The other thing that I enjoyed about Mr. Dufris's narration of The Thin Man would have to be that he did a pretty good job when it came all the dramatic scenes, like, when one of the characters shot Nick.

The one thing I did not like about his narration would have to be when Mr. Dufris did the female characters in The Thin Man, well, to be more exact some of the female characters. I just kind of found his reading of them to be slightly irritating, but I am not sure having never read the actual book if that was just they way the majority of the females were written. Yeah, so either Mr. Hammett wrote just about all the ladies as simpering, catty girls or they just came across like that...

Final Verdict: The Thin Man, fascinating murder mystery, but a little lacking in character development.

The Thin Man earns 3.5 of 5 pineapples.

1 comment:

  1. I do like the sound of the great mystery in this one. Such a classic - haven't read it yet but I need to. Interesting that the characters lacked depth. I also have a hard time with audios when the narrator is saying the parts of the opposite gender. I've never found one I really liked.


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