Thin Walls Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Thin Walls

St. Martin's, Sep 2002, 24.95, 320 pp.
ISBN: 0312287236

By Christmas 1968, private eye Smokey Dalton and his ten year old son Jimmy continue to hide in Chicago knowing that various law enforcement agencies at all levels of government and some nasty private citizens want to find them. Jimmy eye-witnessed the killing of MLK and it is not the guy confessing from a prison cell. Unable to tell who is friend from foe because a police uniform means nothing, Smokey and Jimmy have changed identities in order to remain incognito.
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To support the two of them, Smokey cannot obtain a formal but traceable sleuth license even under his alias of Bill Grimshaw. Instead he does whatever comes his way to include some under the table inquiries. While dealing with Jimmy and the gangs, and his lover/employer relationship with a wealthy white woman, “Bill” agrees to investigate the death of a Black dentist. Rather quickly, “Bill” finds himself in the middle of the very thing he needs to avoid: the FBI and other police officials investigating a potential serial killer.

The third Dalton historical mystery, THIN WALLS, is a fabulous tale that brings to life the turbulent sixties through the frustrations of various groups. This technique could have proven fatally stereotyped, but instead Kris Nelscott makes each group distinct in their rage at their inability to truly matter. The mystery is first class and Smokey's efforts to keep Jimmy clean feel genuine and makes him humanly like most caring parents. The series is as big a winner as the Detroit Tiger's World Series (Jets Superbowl was still a few weeks a way) victory.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Thin Walls

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   minority/women/gay rights Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   Black


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Midwest

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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