The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammet
Why you should buy a copy of your very own:
Because the dialogue, the mystery, and the characters are all awesome--sure, there's all that drinking (the book is awash in alcohol; Nick and Nora have, like, a pre-breakfast cocktail hour and just keep rolling from there), but that's just part of its charm.
In this scene...
Nick and Nora are chatting about the tail end of the mystery. Nora's trying to do a spot of detective work, and Nick's not playing.
"She frowned at me. 'I wish you'd found out more about that big fat man they called Sparrow and that big red-haired woman.'
'But how about Dorothy and Gilbert?'
'I wanted to ask you about them. Do you think he's got any very strong paternal feeling for them?'
'You're probably just trying to discourage me,' she said. 'Well, knowing them, it's hard to think either of them might've been guilty, but I tried to throw out my personal feelings and stick to logic. Before I went to sleep last night I made a list of all the--'
'There's nothing like a little logic-sticking to ward off insomnia. It's like--'
'Don't be so damned patronizing. Your performance so far has been a little less than dazzling.'
'I didn't mean no harm,' I said and kissed her. 'That a new dress?'
'Ah! Changing the subject, you coward.'"
(C)Dashiell Hammet, 1934