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 Post subject: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised? - new response from R Layman
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Did you figure out “whodunit” or were you surprised?



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:45 pm 
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Surprised. I couldn't follow the clues very well, but I sure never expected it to be who it turned out to be. (Snoopydances has since told me the surefire way to figure out who is guilty in any mystery story. :cool: )


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:29 pm 
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:blush:
I had a good idea who it was from the book, then I started to remember the movie...Yep, I was right.
For a while, I was confusing it with one of the other Thin Man movies, then it all came back to me. :biggrin:


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:12 pm 
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Yeah, I was definitely surprised. I mean, I figured that something had happened to Wynant and he most probably wasn't alive, and it was leaning too heavily for Mimi to be it -- you know, it's never who they point the finger at. But no, I didn't think Macaulay.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:19 pm 
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Not surprised, since I haven't made it to the end of the book yet and can't remember how the movie ended. :harhar: Don't know who done it.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:36 pm 
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shadowydog wrote:
Not surprised, since I haven't made it to the end of the book yet and can't remember how the movie ended. :harhar: Don't know who done it.

It was Jimmy Stewart....doh! Wait, that was a different one! :biggrin:


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:13 pm 
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At first I assumed the murderer was Wynant, but that seemed too easy. And then I didn’t think he did it when he sent the telegram, but then I became suspicious again when Gilbert claimed he had seen his dad. So I was back and forth on Wynant. I also suspected Mimi off and on as well as Jorgensen. I even suspected MacCauley at one point. But he wasn’t high on my list. None of them seemed quite right. So in that sense, I guess I wasn’t surprised. The ending was pretty discombobulated, if you ask me…..especially the way it was written. Like Nora said at the end, “it’s all pretty unsatisfactory.”



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:51 pm 
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For me the clues were very confusing - but isn't that the purpose of a good mystery? But I did figure it out just before it was revealed.


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:39 am 
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I did not figure it out until the end. I was going back and forth between several people, even thought of Gilbert now and then since he seemed the most illogical choice! :lol:

Snoopy, do you want to share your secret of how to figure out the murderer? :sherlockholmes:



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:27 pm 
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I was surprised. My imagination really went wild with the ending. Gilbert was high on my list, especially since the letter that he had with him when he was caught at Julia's apartment was written in a completely different voice and style than the other letters. The first thing I thought was that he had written the letter himself and just took it with him to her apartment to cover himself in case he was caught. Another thought was that Gilbert had a need for money to support his morhphine purchases, so perhaps Macauley tried to buy his cooperation by having him write the letter and go to the apartment :perplexed:

I also thought that perhaps Guild and Macauley were in cohoots as well. Guild kept mentioning his silver fox farm in California, and all I could think of was that Wynant (being the silver fox) and Macauley had setup the whole scene as a means of escape from the Communists that the Aunt Alice mentioned. Perhaps when Macauley went with Guild to Pennsylvania to check out the suicide that Macauley offered up some bribe money to Guild to go along with it.

There is also the Halsey(ghoul/archeaologist/hatchet collector looking to purchase property in PA) and Leda(Tip)(gnome) Edge, Larry Crawley(press agent), Alice Quinn(red head in green pyjamas out for $$), Harrison Quinn (pudgy stock broker with lots of insider information), Margot Innes(?), Phil Thames (Professor at Columbia) group. Halsey described himself as a ghoul. I recently thumbed through a new book about the FBI (sorry I do not remember the name) that had a list of code words used over the years by agents. One of the code words was "ghoul", which was described as someone who finds names of deceased individuals to use as cover names criminals and agents. Larry Crowley gave Nick the Little Blue Book (socialist/communist publication), so does this inclination project to the whole group :perplexed: Anyway Larry says he sees Victor Christian Rosewater Jorgensen coming out of a hock shop on the day Jorgensen supposedly left NY. Was Larry tailing Jorgensen for some reason or giving him an alibi :perplexed:
By the way there really was a Victor Rosewater that was alive during the 30's, but I do not see the relation to the story.


There were just so many possibilities. In my mind it is possible that Macauley did play a significant role, but I have serious doubts as to whether he acted alone. I think he may have been the scapegoat for a much larger scheme that could have involved everything from the Occult (Freemasonry and others), business (his inventions could have changed the status quo), money(everybody wanted it), and national security(what was the secret betrayed?). My thoughts about this came mostly from my reading on Nikola Tesla inventor (1856-1943). It seemed to me that Nikola Tesla had similarities to the Clyde Wynant character along with interesting tie ins (list from info gleaned from Wikipedia)
-Nicholas Tesla had reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown in 1888
-he was celibate
-had a labs in New York and in Colorado(Packer story tie in)
- fought long battles regarding patents and his inventions
-it was also said that he had an obsession with the number 3 (notice how many 32s and 33s and 3s are in the story)
-disliked overweight people to the point he fired an employee over it. (fat man's clothest in grave)
-During his 1888 neverous breakdown he cut off all relations with family and friends and to the point that they thought he had downed and was no longer alive. :eyebrow:
-at his death his papers were seized by the FBI and declared Top Secret. :shhh:


Nick Charles lived at the Normandy - maybe a tie in to the subject of the article below which is of course only partial)
New York Herald Tribune, June 5, 1935
Scoffs at Normandy’s "Speed"
Sees Success for His Plan to Use Stratosphere Ray 
Would Light Sea at Night
Says French Liner's System Copied His in U. S. Boats

Dr. Nikola Tesla, scientist and seer whose discoveries in the fields of polyphase electrical current and wireless place him in the front rank of modern inventors, refused yesterday to be awed by the record speed achievement of the French liner Normandy in crossing the Atlantic in 4 days 11 hours 42 minutes and predicted that enormous ships would cross the ocean at far greater speeds by means of a high-tension current projected from power plants on shore to vessels at sea through the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

Dr. Tesla, a tall, slender man with straight silvery hair, lean features and bright blue eyes that belie his seventy-eight years, prefaced his prophecies by pointing out that the Normandy’s system of power generation and application was not new--but one which had been adopted long ago in some of the United States cruisers.  The principle is one of his own inventions.

"In view of the adoption on such a large scale of these inventions of mine, it is interesting to recall that I was violently attacked only a few years ago by a professor of marine engineering at Columbia, who claimed the electrical drive was not feasible and that it was folly to undertake it.
"However splendid the machinery on the Normandy might be, the time is not distant when we will have much simpler and better means of propulsion."

My point about how inventions could turn business interests upside down came from this article (partial)
The World Sunday Magazine — March 8, 1896
A Way to Harness Free Electric Currents Discovered by Nikola Tesla
The World is on the eve of an astounding revelation.  The conditions under which we exist will be changed.  The end has come to telegraph and telephone monopolies with a crash. Incidentally, all the other monopolies that depend on power of any kind will come to a sudden stop.  The earth currents of electricity are to be harnessed.  Nature supplies them free of charge.  The cost of power and light and heat will be practically nothing.

I could go on, but I think Hammett was trying to point the way to certain things happening at that time by use of names of his characters. The names were not a direct correlation, but could send someone thinking about issues that maybe he was trying to point out. Of course the names would be more meaningful to readers of the day who understood the times and would more easily recognize the character names.


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:11 am 
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Wow, WM63. :spin:

I think it would be really helpful if our Hammett scholar, Richard Layman could weigh in right now.

Rick?



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:40 pm 
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I got a response from Richard Layman to this. He gave his permission for me to post it. Some interesting tidbits in here :-O :



I think WM63 is an attentive reader and an excellent researcher. Compliments to her.The Thin Man, as she suggests, is full of private jokes and references to contemporary—i.e., 1933 New York—places, news and cultural events. There are references to vaudeville bits, local elections, plays and songs, and several bits about communists, who were frequently mentioned in the newspapers of the day. My own guess is that Hammett’s reference to the Haldeman-Julius Little Blue Book is to make a joke about its title (which is accurate; it was by B. C. Meyrowitz), not a direct reference to the publisher’s politics, and that Halsey Edge’s description of himself as a ghoul is as he explains, though “ghoul” was slang of the day for newspaperman and for men who stalked and blackmailed married women having affairs. There was no Normandy hotel in Manhattan in 1933, but the new ship Normandy attracted a lot of attention, and it was docked in Manhattan about the time the novel takes place.

The suggestion that Hammett was thinking about Tesla when he created Wynant is very interesting.

As a story idea for one of the Thin Man movies, Hammett returned to MacCaulay, who shows up in San Francisco dressed as a middle-aged woman. That story will be included in Return of the Thin Man, a collection of Hammett’s original screen stories for the second and third movies in the series, plus the unproduced “sequel” featuring MacCaulay.



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised? - new response from R Layman
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:44 am 
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WM63...Whew!! I love how your mind works, hats off to you! :dillingerhello:

Liz, thank you adding Mr. Layman's comments and of course thank you Mr. Layman you gave us a lot to think about. :thanks!:

Live in Depp
Boo



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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:29 am 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
I did not figure it out until the end. I was going back and forth between several people, even thought of Gilbert now and then since he seemed the most illogical choice! :lol:

Snoopy, do you want to share your secret of how to figure out the murderer? :sherlockholmes:

Well WM63 certainly put more thought into it than I did. :ok:

But here is my little theory:
Spoiler! :
Always follow the money. Most murders are committed in these stories over money. They may throw in a jealousy angle or something, but mostly money.

Who has it? The murder victim.

Who wants it? Everyone.

Who has a means of getting it from the deceased? The spouse, the good friend, the business partner...or in this case, the lawyer.

Who always has more answers than questions? The guilty party.
In this case, who "talked" to Wynant? Who received letters from Wynant? Who knew the most about Wynant's whereabouts? Who always had answers every time Nick raised a question?
Everyone else was focused on their pitiful little lives and intrigues, with minimal tie-in to the girl's death or Wynant's whereabouts.

As with extra characters all having a motive to confuse the reader, there are other murders to throw you off the track of the main (money-influenced) murder, as well.
In this case, the girl friend/secretary and guy fleeing police. The main murder is never "discovered" until the end of the story, but Wynant had the money that everyone wanted and he is conveniently missing. So he has to be the main murder victim. The girl friend and other guy are killed to throw you off the track. You think Nick is solving the girl's murder, but that leads to the main one.

That's where the bad guy always messes up. He gets away with the first murder, but then has to keep covering his tracks and telling lies and changing the story until he eventually trips up.


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 Post subject: Re: The Thin Man Question #14 - Were you surprised? - new response from R Layman
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:38 pm 
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I like your theory! If I think about the mysteries I have read in the past I think you are on to something!



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Wow! What a ride!
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