The movie version of The Thin Man (1934), written by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich and directed by W.S. Van Dyke, is one of my all-time favorite movies. What’s not to love? William Powell and Myrna Loy are at their best. Asta the dog is cute. There’s wise-cracking dialogue, great clothes and a twisty murder-mystery to solve. It is one of the early influences on my love of all things mystery.
When I watched it again recently, maybe for the thirtieth time, I realized I had never read the book. Never read anything by Dashiell Hammett come to think of it. How could I call myself a mystery lover with this gaping hole in my reading history?
I set out to fill that void immediately. I wouldn’t be able to hold my head up around my mystery writer friends until I did. Besides, books are always better than the movie version, right? I knew I was in for a treat.
Well, maybe not so much.