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The Glass Key

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,960 Ratings  ·  381 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, 204 pages
Published July 17th 1989 by Vintage (first published 1931)
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F.R.
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kirk
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mei-Lu
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, noir
Dashiell Hammett's heroes are probably best known for their sang-froid. Take Ned Beaumont of The Glass Key, for instance. He will insert himself into any stramash -- even at the expense of getting himself beaten to a pulp and landing in the hospital. And all is to help his politician friend Paul Madvig, who is running for office while trying to evade a number of highly sticky crimes.

The messes in this novel multiply, until Beaumont finally finds out who killed the senator's hotheaded son and lef
...more
Laura
Free download available at Faded Page.

A dark roman noir with some hints of political corruption, very close to the actual moment.

4* The Thin Man
5* The Maltese Falcon
3* Nightmare Town
4* Secret Agent X-9
4* Who Killed Bob Teal?
3* Red Harvest
3* The Glass Key
4* Woman in the dark
TR The Continental Op
TR The Return of the Continental Op
TR The Tenth Clew
TR The Dain Curse
TR The Big Knockover: Selected Stories and Short Novels
Mohammed
I read this for the first time which dosent have the rep of Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon but i found it to be almost his best, great lead character in Ned Beaumont. It is really a companion piece to Red Harvest because its also set in a small town ruled by corruption and political corruption instead of outright criminal gangs. I like how matter factly Hammett explores a social ill like that one. This time there is no tough PI looking to bring down the ciminals that own the city, the local law ...more
Alexandra (matobookalo)
Καταλήγω στο ότι δεν είναι το καλύτερο αστυνομικό που διάβασα ποτέ, αλλά για την εποχή που γράφτηκε είναι πολύ αξιόλογο για αυτό το ψήφισα με 4/5! http://bit.ly/2keaHCe
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
Tim Schneider
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mohammad Ali

بعد از خرمن سرخ این دومین کتابیه که از داشیل همت می خونم. ذیل اون کتاب نقص هایی که به نظرم اومده بود گفته بودم و حس می کنم این کتاب از حیث اون نقص ها بهتر از خرمن سرخه. اما این به معنای این نیست که چیزی تو ذوق آدم نمی زنه

یکی از بزرگترین نقص های این داستان به نظرم جذابیت ند بومانت، کارآگاه داستان، برای زنان است. این توهم که آدم زرنگ لزوما جذاب هم هست تو این کتاب دیگه به مرحله ی ابتذال کشیده شده - شاید همین جنبه هاشه که هالیوودیشم می کنه این جور داستانارو. دیگه اینکه من خواننده حس نمی کنم تو روند
...more
Mark
Oct 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery

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
Stavrula
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Μεγάλος μάστορας ο Χάμετ!
Alan Livingston
I heard Mr. Hammett claimed this was his favorite novel. I have to believe that was a marketing technique of his, a way to direct sales traffic to this dribble. Perhaps he had no editor, but after reading it, I wonder if he ever read his own draft before publication. Then why did I (round it up and) give it 2 stars? Well, he did write The Maltese Falcon, so I suppose I did so out of respect for that. Plus he sold a lot of more books than I have.

There are too many examples of what I hated about t
...more
Reid
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved The Maltese Falcon but never wrote a GR review. The Glass Key is my 2nd Hammett and it was pretty cool. You're dropped into the middle of dialogue in some nameless city amidst its political and criminal elements, perched on the shoulder of Ned Beaumont, a keen mind in the real workings of dirty city politics. He's definitely reminiscent of Sam Spade, but he's not a detective and not quite a lone wolf - he's mostly a loyal partner to Paul Madvig, a somewhat mysterious figure, a bit like N ...more
Ensiform
May 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
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
Pamela Mclaren
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, classics
If you like film noir, such as "LA Confidential," you will definitely like "The Glass Key." From the moment you begin to read, you are set into the mindset of the 40s with a classic mob situation where the boss has bought off the police and the politicians. The main character is gambler and racketeer Ned Beaumont, who discovers the body of a local senator's son — whose father is tied to political boss Paul Madvig. He is soon pulled into trying to direct the mounting evidence away from his boss b ...more
Jennifer
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joshua
Jan 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Michael
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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
Leah
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardboiled, crime, noir
A master study in pace, plot and atmosphere, slower than the breathtaking speed of Red Harvest, but conversely harder-hitting. Hammett brought together perfectly-stranded threads into an intricately twisted tale that shakes out at exactly the right pace.

Though I find his habit of describing the features of each character in that bland, flat manner pointless - it's no use telling me a man has hair of some normal colour like brown or blonde, or that he wears glasses and is medium-height, I don't
...more
wally
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hammett
finished this one today, an okay story, i liked it though a cast of characters at the get-go would have been a plus, quite a cast, this one was as much a who is this as it was a whodunnit. campaign time here, too, election coming up, this that the other. reading along and it was not difficult to imagine an old black and white movie, guys in fedoras, dames in dresses, pearl necklaces, everyone smoking a cigarette or cigar. heh! it was hard to get a feel for the age of some of the characters. adje ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
655. The Glass Key, Dashiell Hammett
کلید شیشهای - داشیل همت، ترجمه پرویز نصیری (روزنهکار) ادبیات
فصل انتخابات در آمریکا نزدیک است در آمریکای ابتدای قرن بیستم ... شهر و مقامات شهر گوش به فرمان گانگستر مقتدر «پل مدویگ» است. او در انتخابات از سناتور هنری پشتیبانی میکند، و گانگستر نوظهور «شاد اوروری» از کاندیدای رقیب... در ابتدای امر جسد پسر سناتور، در کنار خیابان پیدا میشود و «ند بومانت» که مشاور و همکار ارشد «پل مدویگ» است به عنوان کارآگاه راز این قتل را جستجو میکند. از داشیل همت تاکنون کتابهای زیر
...more
Mike
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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
DeAnna Knippling
A reread. I used to think this book was the bee's knees; I'm less impressed with it now. I don't care about the characters anymore and the plot feels thin, so it's down to enjoying the sparse style and quick action, which I did.
AC
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery, noir
Perplexing... Such a slow and serpentine plot. The characters are even richer than Maltese, Ned is a more ambiguous character then Spade (who, himself, is one of a kind).
Andrew Vachss
Nov 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
True father of the Black Mask Boys.
Rick Wayne
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Dashiell Hammett is a lot like listening to the Beatles; you've heard them before even if you've never heard them before. Edgar Allen Poe invented detective fiction, but Hammett invented the detective that audiences since immediately associate with the genre.

A former Pinkerton, Hammett abandoned the British gentleman-detective popularized by Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, characters who are never really in any danger from the murderers they chase, and replaced him with the hardboile
...more
Mike Moore
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I think about this book's reputation while I'm reading it, it seems overrated. Reflecting on it after finishing, it seems perfectly justified.
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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
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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.” 4 likes
“You might as well take your punishment and get it over with” 2 likes
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