Start reading The Glass Key (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration
The Glass Key Narrated by Stephen R. Thorne $13.96 $4.49
Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available
 

The Glass Key (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) [Kindle Edition]

Dashiell Hammett
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $4.49 when you buy the Kindle book.

Kindle Delivers
Kindle Delivers
Subscribe to the Kindle Delivers monthly e-mail to find out about each month's Kindle book deals, new releases, editors' picks and more. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

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 crispness.

A one-time detective and a master of deft understatement, Dashiell Hammett virtually invented the hard-boiled crime novel.  This classic Hammet work of detective fiction combines an airtight plot, authentically venal characters, and writing of telegraphic crispness.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Hammett's prose was clean and entirely unique. His characters were as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction. His gift of invention never tempted him beyond the limits of credibility."

-- The New York Times


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

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 crispness.

A one-time detective and a master of deft understatement, Dashiell Hammett virtually invented the hard-boiled crime novel.  This classic Hammet work of detective fiction combines an airtight plot, authentically venal characters, and writing of telegraphic crispness.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1151 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HFRJPS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,227 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power, corruption, and lies January 12, 2005
Format:Paperback
Of all five of Hammett's novels, "The Glass Key" most resembles a "traditional" whodunit with its linear plot, subtle hints, red herrings, false leads, and disclosure of the murderer in the final chapter. It's his only novel with enough clues to allow readers to figure out who did it--although the identity of the killer will still surprise most readers (including this one, to be honest). What distinguishes it from a typical murder mystery, however, is Hammett's fastidious prose, scurrilous characters, noir ambience, and borderline misanthropy.

Ned Beaumont, a self-described "amateur detective" with an independent streak and a gambling habit, is the loyal underling to shadowy political boss Paul Madvig, whose major concern is to see his candidate, Taylor Henry, reelected to the Senate. When the Senator's son is murdered alongside a dimly lit street, Madvig is the chief suspect, the papers (controlled by the opposition) go on the attack, and Beaumont intervenes with an attempt to clear his boss's name. While not above resorting to ethically dubious behavior, Beaumont retains a vein of rectitude under his tough-guy exterior, and he's even willing to undergo the most brutal thrashings at the hands of the criminal opposition out of loyalty to his own superiors--as long as they themselves don't cross the line.

His fourth novel in three years (1929-1931), "The Glass Key" is bleaker and more cynical than its predecessors, and the mood spirals further downward as the story unfolds. (One can almost imagine Hammett's brooding temper darkening with each stiff drink.) While most of his fiction deals with the underworld and its corruption and squalidness, this work shows most effectively the seedy alliances among businessmen, political bosses, elected officials, law enforcement, media figures, and organized crime in Prohibition-era America.
Was this review helpful to you?
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
"The Glass Key" is probably Dashiell Hammett's best-constructed novel. Our detective this time is not a professional sleuth, but Ned Beaumont, a sharp, tough, unglamorous, right-hand man to Paul Madvig, a powerful corrupt-as-the-next-guy businessman with political ambitions. Paul intends to win an upcoming city election and marry a Senator's daughter. But only a few weeks before the election, Taylor Henry, the Senator's son and brother of Paul's intended, is found murdered in the street. The police are desperate to solve this high-profile case. The city's various political forces are inclined to use Taylor Henry's death to leverage the upcoming election. Information is power, and whoever knows the identity of the murderer may control the election. Paul Madvig's now-precarious influence appoints Ned Beaumont as special investigator for the District Attorney's Office, and the newly-credentialed Ned sets out to sort out the murder before it sorts out the power structure in this unnamed Depression-era city.
"The Glass Key" explores the interdependent cultures of politics, industry, and news media, which combine to thoroughly immerse the city in corruption. As much as I admire Hammett's themes and enjoy his stories, I've never considered the stories, themselves, to be plausible. I wouldn't have much trouble believing that the characters or events described in "The Glass Key" could actually have existed, though. This is the most grounded in realism of any of Hammett's novels, and it's the most tightly written. The novel is evenly paced and, like its protagonist Ned Beaumont, is spare, focused, and direct in its purpose. Despite the story's third-person narration that never reveals anyone's thoughts or emotions, the characters are well-drawn and never flat.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Dashiell Hammetts creative light burned bright but for a brief 5-10 year period. In "The Glass Key," his penultimate novel, Hammett melded the world of the "hard-boiled detective"--shady underground figures, powerful men and, of course, a beautiful woman--with a theme that recurs throughout his ouvre--of basic trust between kindred souls.

Often over-shadowed in the eyes of readers by the novels that preceeded and followed, "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man," "The Glass Key" is Hammett at the very top of his form. Writing as no one had before, or has since
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master at the peak of his powers March 20, 1998
By burglar
Format:Paperback
When you've finished reading this novel (and if you care anything about the American detective story, you will read this novel), think back. Can you recall even the slightest hint of emotion, or the smallest display of caring by one individual for another? I don't think so, and this is the essence of hard-boiled detective stories. Don't get me wrong. You know Ned Beaumont cares about those he is trying to help, and gets beat up for. He's much too tough to show it, though, and that's the key. That's why they call it tough-guy fiction. This story is straight-on, airtight, wonderfully written. In one eighteen-month period Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key. Amazing. We shall never see his like again. Highly recommended.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Piece about Politics, Corruption and Murder November 23, 2002
Format:Paperback
I was bowled over by this one. Oddly laconic with some rather awkward turns of phrase (he did it "difficultly"?!!), the writing, nevertheless, is nearly airtight and so sharply laid down that it carries and sets the mood beautifully in this strange tale of a political boss and his gambler buddy who are bent on winning their particular games of life. Paul Madvig, the boss, wants to win the upcoming elections and ensure continuation of his candidates in office while Ned Beaumont, the lone-wolf gambler, wants to get back on a winning streak, collect on a bad debt and protect his apparently dense friend Madvig who has stumbled into a situation. Madvig is in love with a senator's daughter and keen to win her hand and so has allowed his usual good judgement to become clouded. In shifting his political support to the senator, he has lost touch with his own less-than-respectable base, allowing a local gangster to muscle in on his territory. Intent on pushing the gangster back, he makes a dumb play and is soon sucked into a problem surrounding the unsolved murder of the senator's son. Who did it and why are the questions that lie at the core of Madvig's problems and only Beaumont is clever enough, and cares enough, to get to the bottom of it. Along the way Beaumont takes a bloody beating, participates in a murder and loses what he cares most for in all the world. Although the tale takes a while to get revved up and some of the transitions are so abrupt as to be jarring, this was not only a great "detective" story but one with real resonance that goes well beyond the genre in which it has been cast. I recently read Chandler's The Big Sleep and thought very highly of it, giving it five amazon stars. Well, this one's even better.

SWM
author of The King of Vinland's Saga
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars during the Prohibition Era
This is a very old story. When I was listening to it, there was no reference to when it was published, so I had to figure out that it was during the Prohibition Era, which is a... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book written by a greater writer.
Published 29 days ago by Steven Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good
Published 1 month ago by Gwen K Joy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
In the vein of Red Harvest
Published 2 months ago by Arno Holschuh
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Some Honest Politics
THE GLASS KEY was reputedly Hammett’s favorite of his own novels. Of his five, I have now read all but RED HARVEST, and although I think THE DAIN CURSE is better, this one is... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dash Manchette
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the characterization
Interesting "noir" book, a bit dated, but the plot keeps you moving along wondering how it is going to turn out. I liked the characterization.
Published 4 months ago by BL
4.0 out of 5 stars Many people considered this his best novel.
I have recently read Dashiell Hammett's biography.
Because I was interested in him I decided to read
the "Glass Key" which was thought by some to be
his best novel. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. Rochester
3.0 out of 5 stars Atypical Hammett fare
_The Glass Key_ is a bit of a departure from Hammett's ususal noir storytelling. It is best categorized as a political whodunnit, rich with political corruption, payoffs and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by doc peterson
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
1930s
Published 7 months ago by james gorman houston
5.0 out of 5 stars Best by Hammett
It was easy to read all of Hammett's novels because there were so few. I would give them all five stars. Read more
Published 8 months ago by David H. Eisenberg
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category