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The Glass Key Paperback – July 17, 1989
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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"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 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.
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Quite aside from that, whoever did the scanning needs to get a better OCR program and scanner. The book is shot through with typos that are clearly OCR errors, including innumerable "non-words" that make the reader stop and try to figure out what word is meant.
All in all, I'd say the cost of this book, even in Kindle format, is hardly justified in view of the very, very bad editing. Get another edition.
I'll forgive Hollywood the need to set up the back-story about oddball inventor, Wynant, because in the book he appears not at all and is only described and "seen" through the eyes of the rest of the characters. However, I really didn't like the portrayal of Dorothy, nor the addition of an unnecessary fiancé. In the book, Dorothy and her mother Mimi are both tiresomely repetitive in their boozy-floozy ways and the reader is constantly reminded that Mimi is manipulative and that Dorothy fluctuates between fearful of her mother, dismissive of her own loose behavior, and drunkenly apologetic to Nick and Nora. Despite their unlikable qualities, the characters are definitely a contrast affording the reader a clear view of Nick Charles as he casually gathers up loose threads to weave the mystery together.
I'll not spoil the plot for you unfortunates who have yet to read this worthwhile slim volume and get to know these colorful characters for yourself. This is a fast read and, as I've said, quite entertaining. The Thin Man is a seminal example of the mystery genre, and is a classic for good reason. I'll end by saying that I didn't find it as gripping as The Maltese Falcon, but I'll always have a soft spot for Nick and Nora.
Hammett was a Pinkerton and wrote realistic novels including The Maltese Falcon.
I must say that I found the ending abrupt, with ''the story" of at least one of the main characters unresolved.
But , overall great wit, a wonderful mystery, which unfolds in an intriguing manner. Can read in one sitting.
For fans of the movie: many of the best lines in the movie are lifted verbatim from the book; the "whodunit" element is the same but the exposition is different. The Wynant family at the center of the murder are much more colorful, Mimi is infinitely more despicable, and the sexual interplay that is implied in the movie is more detailed in the book. Nora Charles is still a wisecrack, but more of a wife and much less of a collaborator.