Student Question

How does the book's murderer discovery scene compare to the movie's in The Thin Man?

Expert Answers

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In the book, the discovery scene is much quieter and less dramatic than in the movie. Nick talks to Mimi and persuades her to stop protecting Macaulay. He tells her if she stops protecting Macaulay, the murderer, she will receive her former husband's fortune. She therefore decides to tell the truth. The mystery ends on a deflated note:

". . . it's not very neat." [Nora]

"It's neat enough to send him to the chair," I said, "and that's all that counts. It takes care of all the angles and I can't think of any other theory that would. Naturally it wouldn't hurt to find the pistol . . ."

"Have it your own way," she [Nora] said, "but I always thought detectives waited until they had every little detail fixed in . . . it's all pretty unsatisfactory."

In the movie, as in all Nick and Nora movies, the discovery scene is much more dramatic, with all the suspects gathered around a fine dinner table for the great unveiling. Nick goes over all the evidence and finally reveals the murderer to be Macaulay. Macaulay takes out a hidden gun and shoots it wildly as he attempts an escape, only to be punched in the face and subdued by Nick.

This more suspenseful and scary ending is a suitable movie finale.

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