cover image Return of the Thin Man

Return of the Thin Man

Dashiell Hammett. Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2050-2

Hammett completists and film fans will best appreciate this collection containing the story treatments that became After the Thin Man (1936) and Another Thin Man (1939), the sequels to the original Hollywood hit, The Thin Man (1934), starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as imbibing investigators Nick and Nora Charles, abetted by their adorable dog, Asta. Written in movie shorthand (“Nick and Nora exchange suspicious glances”), these treatments don’t represent Hammett’s artistic peak, though there’s the occasional nugget (“He is having the first ‘clean’ love affair of his life and thinks this slut is Joan of Arc”). Hammett scholar Richard Layman and Hammett’s granddaughter, Julie M. Rivett, provide background on such matters as negotiations with MGM. Amazingly, the alcoholic author reported he spent 10 months sober while writing one of these bibulous scripts. In the 1939 effort, one of the two words uttered by the infant Nick Jr. is drunk. A short unproduced treatment from 1938 titled “Sequel to the Thin Man” rounds out the book. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary. (Nov.)