Denver, Noir City

Dashiell Hammett‘s The Thin Man is the latest selection in Denver’s “One Book, One Denver” initiative. The novel was personally chosen by mayor John Hickenlooper—who, on the evidence, has completely lost the angry local-TV-news-station-Web-site commenter vote. As some have noted, there’s nothing especially Colorado-like about a New York-set detective novel by a writer who spent most of his life in San Francisco. But Westword‘s Michael Roberts does locate one small connection involving gold-rush-era cannibal Alfred Packer:

Packer allegedly dined on some of his traveling companions in 1874 — and after Thomas S. Duke retold the story in a book called Celebrated Criminal Cases of North America circa 1910, the tale became a fixture in the young century’s popular culture. Just over twenty years later, Hammett quoted from Duke’s account in The Thin Man, where screenwriter Ted Griffin eventually stumbled upon it — an act that is responsible for giving shlock-cinema lovers the gift that is 1999’s Ravenous.

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