Nick, Nora, AstaSome people had come in. I spoke to them. Harrison Quinn left the sofa where he had been sitting with Margot Innes and said: "Now ping-pong." Asta jumped and punched me in the belly with her front feet. I shut off the radio and poured myself a cocktail. The man whose name I had not caught was saying: "Comes the revolution and we'll all be lined up against the wall -- first thing." He seemed to think it was a good idea.

"Why don't you stay sober today?" "We didn't come to New York to stay sober. Want to see a hockey game tonight?" "I'd love to." She poured me a drink and went to order breakfast.

Excerpted: ALFRED G. PACKER, THE MANEATER, WHO MURDERED HIS FIVE COMPANIONS IN THE MOUNTAINS OF COLORADO, ATE THEIR BODIES AND STOLE THEIR MONEY. In the fall of 1873 a party of twenty daring men left Salt Lake city, Utah, to prospect in the San Juan country. Having heard glowing accounts of the fortunes to be made, they were light-hearted and full of hope as they started on their journey, but as the weeks rolled by and they beheld nothing but barren wastes and snowy mountains, they grew despondent. The further they proceeded, the less inviting appeared the country, and they finally became desperate when it appeared that their only reward would be starvation and death.
  • The Thin Man, 1932
  • Dashiell Hammett
"I have been asked many times over the years why he did not write another novel after The Thin Man. I do not know ... but five novels is no small amount to leave behind ..." Lillian Hellman, 1961
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