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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Charles, Nick and Nora. Nick and Nora Charles were created by Dashiell Hammett (Continental Op, Secret Agent X-9, Sam Spade) and appeared in one novel, two short stories, six films, three radio shows, and one television show from 1934 to 1959, beginning with The Thin Man.

“Nick Charles” is actually Nicholas Charalambides, a former operative for the Trans-American Detective Agency. He met and fell in love with Nora Charles, a 26-year-old heiress, and they married. He moves in with her and stops being an official detective after she inherits a lumber mill, although he can’t help continuing to do unofficial detecting. They are a witty, alcoholic, greatly amusing pair, his cynicism being matched by her spirit of fun.

* I'm including Nick and Nora Charles in the Best of the Encyclopedia category for several reasons. First, the Nick & Nora Charles stories are well-written and a great deal of fun to read. Hammett, perhaps surprisingly, could do wry, witty humor very well in addition to doing bleak hardboiled like few others could. Second, the Nick & Nora Charles stories are historically important. The boozy, witty, somewhat lighthearted and salacious detective story essentially didn't exist before Hammett created Nick & Nora Charles, and the wave of similar characters following them is proof of their importance and influence. 

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