The Thin Man

Despite being considered one of the all-time greatest mystery writers, Dashiell Hammett wrote only five novels. The most famous, of course, is the Maltese Falcon, in part because of the film noir masterpiece starring Humphrey Bogart.

His final novel, The Thin Man is as successful in its own way. It was adapted into a film that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1934. That film was followed by five sequels and a television series that aired 72 episodes between 1957 and 1959.

But The Thin Man started life as a Redbook Novel in December 1933, illustrated, of course, by Joseph Franké. The Redbook novels look a lot different from their Blue Book counterparts. These consist of a title page with a small picture, one full-page illustration, and a number of small vignettes scattered throughout the story.

You can see these in context here.

Redbook Magazine, December 1933

Here we go, for as the title page tells us, “As hard-boiled and thrilling a murder-shocker as you’ve ever read — written by a man who was once a Pinkerton detective, and knows more about real murder than any other living writer!”

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