The Glass Key

The Glass Key❴Download❵ ➵ The Glass Key Author Dashiell Hammett – 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 enou 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 fiction combines an airtight plot authentically venal characters and writing of telegraphic The Glass eBook ´ crispness. Behind every successful politician there is a great campaign manager Paul Madvig was a successful politician His campaign manager and a close friend was Ned Beaumont The latter was the main character of the story but surprisingly little is revealed about his background through the book Despite that his character works but I am getting ahead of myself Paul Madvig was trying to find a way to the heart of a daughter of a local Senator while doing his best to prevent a romance between his own daughter and the Senator's son from developing Ned Beaumont being a smart guy advised Madvig to drop the whole family like a hot potato Madvig's own elections were coming and the Senator was a weak backup for him not to mention the family complications Madvig refused and soon got his hands full of troubles as somebody killed his daughter's passion and his future brother in law shortly afterwards and this murder looked very bad for Madvig incoming elections Ned Beaumont was doing everything he could to ease the situation and for his trouble he got the full set of what you expect a private detective would get in a noir mystery even though the guy was not a private detective strictly speaking he got knocked up by having his head used as a drum several times some local goons used him as a punching bag some people became curious about the price he can be bought damsels in distress with hidden agendas needed his help; in short everything else you can think of in association with the word noir The first time I read the book was a long time ago I was not impressed much being young and naive My second read now when I became full of cynicism also called experience I looked at the book from a completely different point of view and I liked it better So this is one of the very rare cases when I changed the rating I usually try to avoid doing it even for authors with whose later views I disagree hi Robert A Heinlein or who revealed a nasty personal side hi Marion Zimmer Bradley One of the important lessons I confirmed during my second read the politics is a very dirty business and nothing changed in it since the time of Prohibition Read the book if you doubt it especially if you believe into an adult version of Santa Claus a Good Guy Politician These two are eually rare in real life As I mentioned above the main character was interesting despite us having no clue about his background I thought the writing uality was better than in my all time favorite book of Hammett Red Harvest In other words my previous rating of 3 stars was upgraded in to 4 This time I can honestly say that I have yet to find a boring book of Dashiell Hammett ★ ★ ★ ★ 12I’d read The Glass Key years maybe decades ago and I didn’t remember any of it I made the mistake of taking this to mean bad I felt justified I remember entire stretches of Red Harvest and The Thin Man The Maltese Falcon doesn’t count as it is the novel I’ve reread than any other by a wide margin When in a message board review for a different book I grouped The Glass Key among Hammett’s lesser works I was promptly called out on it I couldn’t argue I didn’t want to argue When than one person has information than you particularly if it contradicts your position the correct response is to look into it I finally didI think the reason my memory lapsed aside from the fact that that’s what memories do given enough time is that the story is built on a couple of unsubstantial cornerstones Ned Beaumont unlike most Hammett protagonist is not a private detective What is he then? Well it is uickly established that he is a gambler Beyond that his place in this world is murky He seems to be a confidant and advisor to Paul Madvig the man behind the local power structure But it’s not an official position In the opening chapter Beaumont borrows a substantial amount of money from Madvig who reaches into his pocket without hesitation And then there’s the uestion of where The Glass Key takes place? Apparently in a big town or small city somewhere in the northeastern United States; it’s a day away from New York City by train the preferred means of long distance transportation in 1931 Considering how much is made of the behind the scene manipulations and politics you would think the arena would be clearly defined And finally there is a murder of fluctuating conseuence It is initially used as a lever to retrieve money from a bookmaker who skipped out with Beaumont’s winnings Thereafter it is relegated to one of several points of contention in an upcoming election Only at the conclusion does the solution carry any importanceYou have to get deeper into the novel before you realize The Glass Key is actually about this unnamed town and the behind the scenes battle for its control It’s as if Hammett had taken the corruption filled “Poisonville” of Red Harvest and decided to examine it from the other side But this town is not uite that far gone It is well on the way however which is probably why Paul Madvig is often mistakenly referred to as a Crime Boss read gangster by readers Oh he’s a criminal all right; but of a powerbroker a chess master and yes he is completely apathetic to those caught in the gears of his political machine But he never orders murder His opponent in the coming election Shad O’Rory also a behind the scenes operator is much of a racketeer He has no ualms in ordering the severe beating of Ned Beaumont And he is always accompanied by thugs where Paul Madvig walks the streets unattendedThe murder instigates all the actions that follow without having any immediate impact on the principals This is mildly surprising because Madvig has aligned himself with a senator also seeking election and it’s his son who is murdered Madvig is also smitten the senator’s daughter It is his focus on activities above his station that allows O’Rory to make inroads from below The Glass Key follows these skirmishes within the inner workings of this municipality It plays out like a noir movie from the 50s than a 1931 novel Of course one begot the other And the story does eventually resolve itself with the solution of the murderI was wrong to consider this a lesser work That it doesn’t fit neatly into the rest of the Hammett cannon had allowed it to slip from memory It lacks the layered protagonists of The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man and the unrelenting pace of Red Harvest What it strives for and achieves is something It’s a detailed look at the legal and governmental corruption that had always for the most part hovered at the perimeter of Hammett’s work The final betrayal in The Glass Key is as close to justice as this particular world is capable of delivering It may represent the last chance this unnamed city has to keep from becoming Poisonville It was all Hammett could do He had seen enough real life Poisonvilles in the world around him Believed to have been the victim of a hold up Taylor Henry 26 son of Senator Ralph Bancroft Henry was found dead in China Street near the corner of Pamela Avenue at a few minutes after 10 o'clock last night Chief of Police Frederick M Rainey immediately ordered a wholesale round up of all suspicious characters in the city and issued a statement to the effect that no stone will be left unturned in his effort to apprehend the murderer or murderers at once Published back in 1931 this political crime thriller reads as fresh in 2017 as if it was written in today's climate rife with high stakes corruption yellow press and sex scandals Many have tried to imitate Hammet's style of narration his hard edged dialogue and his sharp expositions but very few have succeeded Maybe one of the reasons is that the author had actually lived and did investigative work through those troubled Prohibition years through the rise of powerful gangsters that controlled whole cities through vice booze and gambling that had both the police and the politicians in their back pocket Paul Madvig is the poster boy of such successful crooks self made and ruthless yet aspiring to become a part of the old 'aristocracy' in town by courting the Senator's beautiful daughter Janet Henry It all goes pear shaped when the dame's brother is found murdered on the doorstep of Madvig's night club Paul's friend and right hand man a professional troubleshooter named Ned Beaumont reluctantly gets involved in the mess trying to clear Madvig's name and to find out who in a long list of enemies is trying to bring his boss down—«»—«»—«»—I've actually read the book a few months back and didn't take a lot of notes it's the kind of story you want to bookmark wholesale and study in a creative writing workshop The tone is pitch perfect the plot deviously twisted and Ned Beaumont is one of the best hardboiled leads I have read in the genre in the last years The Glass Key is a classic by any metric one cares to consider Here's a typical sample of what I'm talking about Ned Beaumont was tugging at the door knobThe apish man said Now there Houdini and with all his weight behind the blow drove his right fist into Ned Beaumont faceNed Beaumont was driven back against the wall The back of his head struck the wall first then his body crashed flat against the wall and he slid down the wall to the floorRosy cheeked Rusty still holding his cards at the table said gloomily but without emotion Jesus Jeff you'll croak himJeff said Him? he indicated the man at his feet by kicking him not especially hard on the thigh You can't croak him He's tough He's a tough baby He likes this He bent down grasped one of the unconscious man's lapels in each hand and dragged him to his knees Don't you like it baby? he asked and holding Ned Beaumont up on his knees with one hand struck his face with the other fist So when I have over the years thought of the best works of Dashiell Hammett I usually think of The Maltese Falcon or The Thin Man but in recent years I have taken the opportunity to read a little deeply into the Hammett canon also reading the tough and political Red Harvest I am told that over time Hammett began to despise most of his own work but conceded that The Glass Key was not so bad I now find that many critics think of Falcon and Key as his two best works I thought it was very good very tightly constructed and also politically driven informed by Hammett’s experience with gangs over the years and like Red Harvest “serious” in theme and tone but I’d still lean to the lighter zippier and character driven Thin Man and Falcon Just a matter of taste maybeThe Glass Key is the story of a gambler and racketeer Ned Beaumont whose devotion to Paul Madvig a crooked political boss leads him to investigate the murder of a local senator's son as a potential gang war brews Beaumont is sort of Madvig’s right hand man his campaign manager We don’t know much about his background and we don’t know much of his thoughts This one is stripped down to action and description almost entirely which makes it stylistically interesting For a campaign manager and gambler turned amateur detective he can also take a punch; he’s beaten up a lot in this book by mobsters He’s no saint; of a scoundrel though sometimes charming not as charming or witty as Sam Spade thoughI am told that this book was the inspiration for the Coen brothers’ fine film Miller’s Crossing and you can see it mob war a Gabriel Byrne character and then all the stuff about hats in both worksI guess I wish the characters were a bit sassier or wittier in general than I recall from other Hammett novels but the plot is great really with some expected and well turned surprises First time reading it and it is fine work focusing on legal and government corruption Recommended 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 uite 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 will remain forever in your memory The soundtrack is brilliant too The Coens are variable film makers but this is one of their Grade A efforts So if you’ve never seen it I order you to please stop reading this now and go out and get yourself a copy You will thank me laterFor whatever reason – even though I clearly love the film – I’d never actually read the Dashiell Hammett novel which inspired it Perhaps it was because I didn’t know what ‘inspired by’ actually meant The film isn’t a straight adaptation of the book so is that inspiration obscure and obliue or is it blatant and obvious? The answer is very much the latter They share a similar setting the relationship between the two central characters the spark of a mob war some great dialogue and even all that stuff about the hats You’ll understand when you see the film Even if I didn’t know that this was the inspiration I’d have spotted it almost immediately anywayI always dislike reading a book after I’ve seen the film as I normally end up just comparing one to the other but in this case it was unavoidable However trying to judge it on its own merits I will say that this is a thrilling read which kept this reader permanently on edge Much like Hammett’s ‘Red Harvest’ it’s freuently difficult to work out which side the lead character is actually on – and that of course means anything can happen The ending perhaps isn’t as clever or as affecting as it should be but this is a classy gangster tale with suspense great scenes and fantastic dialogue – and you can’t really ask for than that can you? 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 the way the Ham embeds the serial cliffhangers within the larger plot it's what makes the book feel less improvised than HARVEST On top of this the characters are shady and fun in part because Ned Beaumont isn't a PI but a political fixer working a Balti machine boss Read a few books on Hammett and Balti and you'll appreciate how he adapted a lot of real life Democratic frame ups and backstabs into the narrative Some of Ned's dirty tricks will seem almost uaint in this CSI era where crimefighters get so tediously forensic they can track displaced air particles I especially chuckled at the scene where Ned plants a hat in a rival's living room and then plays him like Play Do I also like how the book never gets too specific about ideology We never really see what bossman Paul Madvig's agenda is other than money and power There are some faults Hammett's women come in two varieties either doe eyed bambinos or hardened vixens The broad here Janet Henry is a wet noodle and makes you long for the snappy patter of Effie Perrine Still I find Chandler's women interesting they're not so breathy and whiny as Hammett's Though they're better in his stories Plus the whole significance of the title is a red herring Hammett came up with the glass key because his editor at Black Mask was pushing him for a title to publicize his forthcoming serial and then he had to work it into the actual plot And it feels worked in trust me Still that hasn't stopped critics from getting all symbolical I especially like when folks go Freudian as when a guy writes Ned represents a phallic aggression perpetually destroyed by the invasiveness of its masterful gestures because you know you stick a key in a hole and sometimes it gets stuck Well I also thought the significance of the lambs' silence was pretty patchy but you can't call a book The More Buxom the More Homicidal Or maybe you can Reading the The Glass Key it's easy to see why Hammett was revered by Raymond Chandler and so many other hardboiled detective fiction greats of the 30's 40's and beyond The plot is smart tight and doesn't slack for an instant Hammett imbues characters with depth giving them hidden desires conflicting motivations and complex shifting relationshipsThe Glass Key is a murder mystery with deep political undertones set in a city rife with corruption crooked politicians and shady characters The uncertain relationships particularly between bigwig Madvig and protagonist gambleramateur detective Beaumont as well as an unknown agitator who attempts to provoke conflict by sending scathing anonymous letters allow Hammett to constantly stir the pot and defy expectationsDespite having been published nearly 90 years ago the story holds up incredibly well today Highly recommended to crime fiction fans 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 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 introduced too uickly who would then disappear for large sections of the story making it very difficult to remember who everyone was and why they didn't like each other The leading ladies are boring as hell no smartass Nora Charles or evil Brigid O'Shaunessy here; just a hysterical gang moll a dull gangster's daughter and a duller politician's daughter and none of them are even mildly scheming or sassy and the detective's romantic interest in one of them doesn't make a damn lick of sense The amateur detective in uestion is Ned Beaumont and it's clear that Hammett was going for one of his hard boiled yet charming detective scoundrels a la Sam Spade or Nick Charles but the problem is that the charming bad boy is a very sensitive and specific formula and something was improperly measured when Hammett made Beaumont Rather than being hard boiled he's just an asshole and all his uips are smug than funny I never understood his thought process or motivation much less why everyone kept talking about what a swell guy he was when clearly he was just a crafty douchebag The murder victim that the case centers around never gets to make an appearance in the story we meet him when his body is discovered and so the death Beaumont is investigating never really seems that important and the twists and turns that the story took left me mostly perplexed because I never knew what was going on in the first place anyway It got to the point where I seriously considered just abandoning the book and reading something else which is not good I didn't even care who had murdered the guy because I didn't care about him or any of the people who might have killed him and I certainly didn't like Beaumont enough to want him to crack the case and get the dame and all that In a word boring Once again The List has seriously dropped the ball Really found it difficult to warm to this murder mystery Other reviewers have rated this highly but for this reader it just didn't stand out for the genre I'm having difficulty trying to pin point exactly why Ned Beaumont was an interesting main character although I did have some difficulty investing in some of his actions and thought processes Listed on the Boxall 1000 list but it just wasn't for me 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 crimesThe messes in this novel multiply until Beaumont finally finds out who killed the senator's hotheaded son and left his body lying in the street the same senator whose daughter Paul Madvig loved to distraction Fingers point in all directions but nothing deters Ned It took a while for me to warm up to the story especially as most of the characters didn't really show their true colors until later But then things get cleaned up lickety split One gang boss is strangled to death by his own hood while Ned looks on The senator is discomfited by the fix in which he finds himself And the two women who love Ned find he doesn't much care for either one of them Hammett is always worth reading even if this isn't his best book

The Glass Key Kindle ´ The Glass  eBook ´
  • Paperback
  • 214 pages
  • The Glass Key
  • Dashiell Hammett
  • English
  • 10 March 2016
  • 9780752851334