Hannah's Diary

Sam’s ‘Grandfathers’

I’m honoured that the following five star review, placed on Amazon for Sam’s Song, should draw comparisons with Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade because, in essence, they are my Sam’s ‘grandfathers’.


The Review

I really enjoyed this mystery starring Sam as an emotionally damaged, female private detective. Early on I had to remind myself more than once that this story was set in the UK and not the USA because it felt like I was reading an atmospheric Raymond Chandler story! Sam wouldn’t have been out of place as a friend to Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe. But enough of comparisons because this is an excellent read, which stands on its own merits.

We have a great mix of characters. Sam is an interesting and very believable character. There is an abusive ex husband and the scenes with him were very well written. There is the friend in the police service every private eye needs and again Sweets was well described. The clients are in the music industry and I thought the author did a great job of giving each character their own identity. The various shades of bad guys are an interesting mix and finally, there is Alan who offers the possibility of romance.

There is a proper murder mystery to be solved but it is the characters which raise the book above the average and had me turning the pages. I look forward to reading further adventures with Sam.

Sam on Amazon

Movies Novels Private Detectives

The Thin Man

The Thin Man

One of my favourite comedy-detective stories is The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. Hammett is probably better known for The Maltese Falcon, though The Thin Man was also very popular and spawned five additional films featuring the main characters, Nick and Nora Charles.

In the films, William Powell and Myrna Loy play Nick and Nora. While William Powell is excellent as the hard-drinking, fun-loving Nick, Myrna Loy steals the films with her elegant beauty and her wonderful sense of comic timing. Whenever she appears on screen, your eye is drawn to her and the films are worth watching for her performances alone.

The Thin Man

The storyline of The Thin Man centres on former private detective Nick Charles who travels to New York for the Christmas season with his wealthy wife, Nora. There, they discover that a successful inventor has disappeared and a reluctant Nick sets out to find him. The twists and turns of the plot lead to a classic dénouement scene, a motif of The Thin Man series, where Nick gathers all the suspects together before identifying the culprit.

Hugely successful, The Thin Man became one of the top ten films of 1934. While the film is worth watching for its mystery element, the real delight of The Thin Man, and its sequels, is the witty and sophisticated dialogue. Indeed, the interplay between William Powell and Myrna Loy was so good that many people thought they were married in real life.

In a classic scene from the film, the police search Nick and Nora’s apartment. Nora observes a police officer rummaging through her possessions and exclaims, “What’s that man doing in my drawers?” causing Nick to spit out his drink (in the first Thin Man film, Nick always has a drink to hand) and hundreds of theatre operators to censor the line – this was 1934, after all.

My favourite lines from the film – Nick: “I’m a hero; I was shot twice in The Tribune.” Nora: “You were shot five times in the tabloids.” Nick: “It’s not true; he didn’t come anywhere near my tabloids.”