A Chave de Vidro (Colecção 9 mm Público, #13)
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A Chave de Vidro (Colecção 9 mm Público, #13)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  6,177 ratings  ·  240 reviews
Paul Madvig was a cheerfully corrupt ward-heeler who aspired to something better: the daughter of Senator Ralph Bancroft Henry, the heiress to a dynasty of political purebreds. Did he want her badly enough to commit murder? And if Madvig was innocent, which of his dozens of enemies was doing an awfully good job of framing him? Dashiell Hammett's tour de force of detective...more
Paperback, Colecção 9 mm Público - 13, 287 pages
Published September 2005 by Mediasat Group, S.A. (first published 1931)
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F.R.
If you’ve never seen 'Miller’s Crossing', I urge you to – without the slightest hesitation – do so now! The Coen brothers’ gangster film is not quite up there with 'The Godfather' or 'Goodfellas', but is a work of genius nevertheless. It’s a highly stylised tale of a town ruled by the mob and the relationship of the two men at the centre of it. Both Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney are superb (indeed, there are no slouches in the entire cast), and the film is packed with fantastic moments which w...more
Mei-Lu
It's interesting to me that in terms of influence, Raymond Chandler seems to be cited more by novelists (Paul Auster, China Miéville) and Dashiell Hammett, by filmmakers (the Coen Brothers, Rian Johnson). Both the Coen Brother's Miller's Crossing and Rian Johnson's Brick were influenced by Hammett's writing and all three filmmakers specifically cite The Glass Key. As part of my crime fiction spree, I had been planning to read the Maltese Falcon or the Thin Man (because I've seen both movies), bu...more
Madeline
This is on The List? Really? I mean, I understand why The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man are on there, because they're great, but as far as I'm concerned there was no reason to include this one as well.

Plainly put, it was dull and confusing. It's more political thriller than detective novel, so if that's your thing you might like this, but any sort of political intrigue drama generally bores me to death unless it's actually a historical political intrigue. There were too many characters introd...more
Kirk
As many reviewers note, Hammett claimed this book was his favorite, and it's easy to see why. Structurally it's the most cohesive of his five novels. RED HARVEST is great but feels a little serial-y, DAIN CURSE is four stories glommed together, and both MALTESE FALCON and THIN MAN have some rather gaping plot holes that you gotta asphalt over to get to the end. But GLASS KEY feels coherent and cohesive and let's just add crisp to make an alliterative hat trick. Maybe what's most interesting is t...more
Tim Schneider
This was a re-read. And a relatively recent one at that. Interestingly, I did almost a 180 degree turn on how I felt about the book in a little less than two years. Legend has it that this was Hammett's favorite of the novels he wrote. Now I can see why.

There's little doubt that Hammett not only set the stage, but really invented the hard-boiled detective with The Continental Op and Sam Spade. Yeah, John Carrol Daly was earlier. But he was a dreadful writer. And his work wasn't particularly inf...more
Simon
This murder mystery follows a gambler's attempt to clear the name of a hopelessly corrupt politician he's allied with, when said politician's accused of murdering the local senator's son. I must say that I can definitely understand both why Hammett himself considered "The Glass Key" his masterpiece *and* why many modern-day readers don't enjoy it as much as for example "Red Harvest".

One of the things I liked best might turn off other readers: None of the characters are very admirable, most are f...more
Ensiform
Ned Beaumont, right hand man of corrupt kingmaker Paul Madvig, discovers the body of a senator’s son. Paul was backing the senator and loved his daughter, but there becomes reason to believe that he may have killed the son. At first using the death to avenge himself against a bookie who skipped town, he then gets truly embroiled in finding the truth, especially after Paul’s rival captures and beats Ned for information about the murder.

This thriller doesn’t have the long line of dead men that The...more
Mark

When are we getting those half-stars, again? I so wanted to give this 3 1/2 stars, simply on the strength of the noir prose. These were the days when men wore hats, women called them louses, everyone drank and smoked all day and goons beat up patsies and called them pals later.

This was extolled to me as one of Hammett's masterpieces, but I found a couple major flaws that I can't explain without issuing a SPOILER ALERT, so be forewarned.

Our protagonist is Ned Beaumont, a jack of all trades workin...more
Mike
Sep 27, 2010 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I remember less about this book than many of Hammett's other ones. But even though the specifics are a bit more hazy, the memory of it being a really good read is not. It's a very dark tale, darker than "The Maltese Falcon" or possibly any of the tales of "The Continetal Op". It digs into the seamiest side of corruption, politics and deviousness. I've read that Hammett considered it his best work and there is a mystery/crime writer's award named after the book. Time for me to read it again I thi...more
Jim
Dorothy Parker once said that "there is entirely too little screaming about the work of Dashiell Hammett." True though that may have been when she was writing, Hammett is now deservedly celebrated, and The Glass Key is a major reason why. The novel, a tale of murder, politics and corruption set during the Depression, benefits hugely from Hammett's choice of the objective point of view, allowing no access to any character's thoughts. Readers are left to track actions and assess motivations on the...more
Matthew
Hard-boiled at it's finest and a great protagonist in Ned Beaumont. I enjoyed the spin of an amatuer detective who in a different story may have been the one being investigated.
The descriptions were vivid and I took particular note of the way Hammett efficiently sketched facial expression and gesture.
The conclusion may be seen as a letdown to some. The wrongdoers aren't exposed and punished in a grand way, but Ned just steps out of the story when his work is done. I found it consistant with t...more
Jennifer
So, I'm not going to say, "wow, this is the greatest noir novel I've ever read." It is written by the father of Noir - Dashiell Hammett (Mr Maltese Falcon, and Mr. Thin Man). It was a little difficult to get into it seemed to not want to commit to a story line at first and I was somewhat disappointed when I found out what the glass key was, none the less, I found myself getting drawn into this book obsessing over what the main character would find next.

Ned Beaumont (who is always referred to by...more
globulon
I read this soon after reading Chandler's "The Long Goodbye" so comparing them was unavoidable. I think the primary thing in favor of the Chandler book is that it was more realistic. This seemed a bit more like a comic book. Along with that, it seemed that the writing in "The Glass Key" was less sophisticated. I think one place this stuck out was in the descriptions of what the characters are doing. The Hammett writing is a lot more basic in this regard. The Chandler characters seem to operating...more
Victoria Mixon
The problem with naming your novel after an obscure object that doesn't appear until almost the last page is that it's not really the point of the novel.

Again, Hammett's written a meticulously detailed record of a "detective" (he's not technically a detective, he's a "political fixer," but that's just a surface alteration to Hammett's standard protagonist) on a complex case, this time someone named Ned Beaumont who's best friends with a politician named Paul Madvig.

Again, the detective's extrac...more
Scott
Hardest of all Hammett's hard-boiled fiction, The Glass Key (1931) is a brutal, cynical, depressing study of social and family values in Depression Era America ... with a murder mystery tacked on to the side. You can follow the plot most of the time, the dialog is nearly always brilliant, and the body count doesn't bust a dozen: so, it's almost credible and certainly more than just a Black Mask tale bloated all out of proportion. Don't look for humor in this tale of corrupted politics (both civi...more
Joshua
Jan 29, 2008 Joshua rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in a gripping whodunit
Shelves: crime
I've always been a huge fan of Dashiell Hammett's. He is a true master of the hard-boiled crime novel. No other mystery/crime author, besides perhaps Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Raymond Chandler, has inspired so many future writers, readers and filmmakers. Many of my favorite films have been based on and adapted from his works. From Kurosawa's Yojimbo to Eastwood's and Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (both based on Red Harvest), to Bogey's The Maltese Falcon and to one of the greatest film scr...more
Adam
Maybe the best genre novels are those that provide something other than--or in addition to--escapism. Well, for me there really wasn't any escapism in The Glass Key; it's a book that trapped me, a book I'll likely continue reading once every year or two for a very long time. Because this one has it all: a complex but never murky plot, a good dozen scenes that Hollywood would never be able to do justice to, and a cast of characters as unforgettable as those in Hammett's better-known novels.

The gr...more
Lisa
Jan 13, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Raymond Chandler or film noir
Shelves: mystery
One hell of a stylish mystery of hard-boiled school with crisp dialogue, brisk pacing, a modicum of wry humor. The murder angle, who killed the senator's son, is less gripping than all the other shenanigans that Ned Beaumont, our detective by circumstance, is up too. Ned is a pretty shifty character not above planting evidence and framing a pretty rotten punk, but one thing he wants is to get to the truth of the matter, or at least in this case. Because he thinks an awful lot of people are barki...more
Michael
After the high loopiness of The Dain Curse, it was a great relief to plunge into this final novel of Hammett's and find it to be on a par with Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon. Primarily, this is a tale of friendship as well as murder and politics, and of the extremes that one will go to get a friend's back. It is splendid and speedy and fun.

If you are at all familiar with the Coen Brothers' Miller's Crossing, then you'll hear the voices of Albert Finney and Gabriel Byrne in the dialogue betwe...more
Michael
I love noir. How can you not like mysteries that are fast, violent and dangerous? You can't.

This is actually the first Dashiell Hammett book I've read, as I've mainly been reading Chandler up to this point. But this was an excellent introduction, following a mobster's smart, young right-hand man as he tries to keep his boss out of a mob war and solve the murder of a senator's son. The plot twists and turns all over the place. There's actually so much that the Coen brothers were abole to pluck ou...more
Ruhi
Much has been written to compare Dashiel Hammett with Raymond Chandler as the originator of the hard-boiled crime novel. Hammett is the favourite. I think Chandler was the one that perfected the tough yet somewhat sentimental style that became the hallmark of the genre. Nevertheless, Hammett has an unshakeable status in the genre. Most think The Maltese Falcon is his best work. I prefer The Glass Key with its cynical hero with his heart in the right place and the plot full of betrayal and deceit...more
Jack
I read this in college about ten years ago, and couldn't remember any details about it other than it being my favorite Hammett novel. It still is. The characters are well drawn, the narrator's motives have just the right amount of ambiguity, and Hammett continues his astonishing ability to convey vivid impressions of places and people with a stark economy of words. Sidenote: I'm also still fascinated by how strongly Miller's Crossing feels like a direct –and faithful - adaptation of this book ev...more
Rob Smith
This is the first book of Hammett's I've read and wish I'd read him in the past. This is a very good story. Well written. The skips in time by chapters does keep one wondering who might be involved with the central murder. There is no detective here. Just a fellow trying to help a pal. That fellow and just about everybody featured in the book are caught in an upcoming political election that is well described and helps move the story move beyond the average who-done-it. I look forward to reading...more
Fausto
Ha sido un libro entretenido y que se sigue con interés. Comparando con las otras 2 obras que he leído de Hammett, no tiene la calidad y la intensidad de “El halcón maltés”, pero supera con creces al desilusionante “El hombre delgado”.

En “La llave de cristal” los protagonistas son gánsteres, con vinculaciones políticas, la policía y la fiscalía. Lo principal no es el método de resolver el crimen (una de las muchas diferencias con la novela detectivesca), la intriga viene por las diferentes reacc...more
Michael
Apr 06, 2014 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hammett fans, hard-boiled fans, mystery fans
Recommended to Michael by: serendipity
Shelves: pulp-fiction, mystery
I regard this simply as Dashiell Hammett's greatest masterpiece. If you like any of his other work, you'll love this. I know a lot of other Hammett fans would place The Maltese Falcon above it, and it's close, but for me this is the more richly satisfying read. It's a more complex plot, a more interesting character study, and a better window into a larger slice of the underworld Hammett is most interested in. It contains violence, but it isn't quite as unrelentingly brutal as Red Harvest. And, w...more
Michael A
This is part four of my Hammett reading quest. Oddly, I read about fifty pages and stopped. Maybe I shouldn't be writing a review at all, seeing as how I didn't get through the whole thing in the first place. However, I would like to write about why I didn't finish it.

The big reason was his choice to set this story up in a world of corrupt politics and having our anti-hero as something of a political fixer. Why I don't like this is that the real world is already filled with this junk - it was ar...more
Joe
This is easily the best Dashiell Hammett novel I have read to date. The story-telling is taught and sparse. It is also highly external in that the author dies not directly describe the inner life of his characters. In a style Cormac Macarthy would improve upon in a later generation we are presented scenes, actions taken and things said. From these scenes the reader gleans the narative. As proper for a 1930s era thriller the scenes reek of hard-boiled film noir action.
Claudia
I'm on quite the Hammett kick...fourth one on audible. Ned Beaumont is certainly NO Nick Charles. But who the heck is he? With absolutely no back story...except his current boss Paul Madvig seems to have found him someplace and 'adopted' him to do dirty jobs for him..I kept wondering WHERE Ned learned his special skills set: extortion, political machinations, setting people up to be accused of crimes. Ned Beaumont is a bloody genius about the ugly underbelly of life. One reviewer said the book i...more
Sean
A violent little noir which inspired the Coens' Miller's Crossing. Hammett's style is very movie-like in that he never once says what any character is thinking or feeling. He just describes action. Someone's eyes go cold, or hard, or get wet, or someone slumps in a chair, hangs their head, acts in a way suggesting anger. The plot is a little convoluted, but it works since the story is about the backroom machinations of politics and crime.
Diocletian
Another excellent book by Hammett. Like Red Harvest, it is an exploration and criticism of corrupt politics, although, unlike his first novel, it is not organized crime and gangs fighting for control of a single town. Instead, it revolves around the murder of a senator's son by a mysterious party and the attempt to cover it up in order to win an election. The writing is good, the characters are interesting, and the plot has the many twists and turns and the realistic story that are associated wi...more
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Why the title? 1 10 Jun 29, 2014 06:02AM  
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Also wrote as Peter Collinson, Daghull Hammett, Samuel Dashiell, Mary Jane Hammett

Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hardboiled detective novels and short stories. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). In addition to the significant influence his nove...more
More about Dashiell Hammett...
The Maltese Falcon The Thin Man Red Harvest The Dain Curse The Continental Op

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“When he awakened again he could stand, and did. He doused his head in cold water and drank four glasses of water. The water made him sick and after that he began to shake with a chill. He went into the bedroom and lay down on the bare blood-stained mattress, but got up almost immediately to go stumbling and staggering in haste back to the bathroom, where he got down on hands and knees and searched the floor until he had found the rusty razor-blade. He sat on the floor and put the razor-blade into his vest-pocket. Putting it in, his fingers touched his lighter. He took the lighter out and looked at it. A cunning gleam came into his one open eye as he looked at the lighter. The gleam was not sane.” 2 likes
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