A noir story, The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Ah, Dashiell Hammett. I first met Dash in one of my graduate courses reading The Maltese Falcon. I think I became enamored with him more for his career as a detective before writing, and also the whole politic/blacklisting, than his writing, but nonetheless, I have continue to carry a flame for him all these years. He is considered the master of the hardboiled detective story, so if you’re into that genre, he is a must-read. For me, the plots become a little formulaic (as is the norm with these sorts of stories), but the narrator is pretty fun and it’s always a fun puzzle trying to solve the mystery before you get to the end. Usually, there’s at least one or two good curveballs I didn’t see coming, so he is never *too* predictable.
In this novel, our narrator is a retired private detective on vacation with his wife, enjoying lots of cocktails and parties in the Big Apple. One of his former acquaintance’s ex wives and children run into him, and gets embroiled in a very odd series of events. Our narrator is then in a race with the police to figure out what really happened before any further incidents occur. Hammett is, as always, a quick but entertaining read.