Who killed Julia Wolf at the end of "The Thin Man" and why?

Julia Wolf was killed by Clyde Wynant's shady lawyer Herbert Macauley at the end of "The Thin Man". Julia was Clyde's secretary, and she was working with Macaulay to steal from him. Beyond killing Clyde, Macauley also killed Julia, as he was worried that she would tell on him. After killing Julia, Macauley left Clyde's watch chain in her hand to make it seem that Clyde was her killer.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Julia Wolf was foolish enough to get herself involved in a plot by the crooked lawyer Herbert Macauley to steal from Clyde Wynant, Julia's employer. She was even more foolish in scamming Macauley out of his share of the heist's proceeds. As he realized he could no longer trust Julia, Macauley was worried that she'd tell on him. With the prospect of serious jail time staring him in the face, Macauley decided to have Clyde and Julia murdered.

After he killed Clyde, Macauley continued to wire himself money in Wynant's name, making it seem that he was still alive. In one of the phony messages, "Wynant" told Macauley to shut up shop. Macauley then buried Clyde's body in the shop; the body was dressed in another man's clothes so as to throw the authorities off the scent. He even placed a belt buckle with an "R" on the body to make it seem that it was Wynant's old adversary Rosebreen. This was a smart move on Macauley's part, as Rosebreen had dropped out of sight years before.

After disposing of Clyde Wynant, Macauley cleverly staged Julia's death. He did this to make it seem like Clyde was still alive and that he'd killed her. Macauley framed Clyde by leaving the already-dead man's watch chain in Julia's cold, dead hand.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team