The one hundred and fourty-fifth book: #337 The Thin Man - Dashiel Hammett
The Thin Man got to the top of the list in quite a roundabout way. It started with our love of Beyond Belief, one of the segments of the Thrilling Adventure Hour show and podcast, which we sought out after enjoying listening to Paul F. Tompkins on other podcasts. That led to us prioritizing watching the Thin Man movie, which the podcast segment was based on. That hit us in the right place, so I really felt like reading the book as well to really see the origins.
It's the conversations that really stand out reading the book. Dashiel Hammett writes them to flow well, with the character's initial unwillingness standing out in the way they play with each other. It shows the casual love of our main characters, who tease each other but mostly want to hang out and, well, drink a lot - the speakeasy culture is very well alive at this point. The mystery is intriguing enough and builds well - the result felt quite strong even with some of the doubts it left me - but it's how it affects the characters that's the most interesting, and when that drops away at the end a bit to explain things, the book loses it a bit as well. It's a shame this was his last full novel, but I know I've got some earlier strong works of his on the list that I'm looking forward to and some short stories to look for.