The Glass Key (Paperback)

The Glass Key By Dashiell Hammett Cover Image

The Glass Key (Paperback)

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From one of the great pioneers of detective stories, a classic tale reissued with a new introduction by Laura Lippmann

Ned Beaumont is a gambler and a professional troubleshooter for his friend Paul Madvig, a cheerfully corrupt political power broker who aspires to greater things. Madvig has his eyes set on none other than the daughter of Senator Ralph Bancroft Henry, the heiress to a dynasty of political purebreds. When the senator’s son turns up dead, Madvig becomes the prime suspect. But if he is innocent, then which of his dozens of enemies is doing an awfully good job of framing him?

Dashiell Hammett’s tour de force of crime fiction combines a bulletproof plot, authentically corrupt characters, and writing of telegraphic crispness.
Dashiell Samuel Hammett was born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. He grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hammett left school at the age of fourteen and held several kinds of jobs thereafter—messenger boy, newsboy, clerk, operator, and stevedore, finally becoming an operative for Pinkerton’s Detective Agency. Sleuthing suited young Hammett, but World War I intervened, interrupting his work and injuring his health. When Sergeant Hammett was discharged from the last of several hospitals, he resumed detective work. He soon turned to writing, and in the late 1920s Hammett became the unquestioned master of detective-story fiction in America. In The Maltese Falcon (1930) he first introduced his famous private eye, Sam Spade. The Thin Man (1932) offered another immortal sleuth, Nick Charles. Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), and The Glass Key (1931) are among his most successful novels. During World War II, Hammett again served as sergeant in the Army, this time for more than two years, most of which he spent in the Aleutians. Hammett’s later life was marked in part by ill health, alcoholism, a period of imprisonment related to his alleged membership in the Communist Party, and by his long-time companion, the author Lillian Hellman, with whom he had a very volatile relationship. His attempt at autobiographical fiction survives in the story “Tulip,” which is contained in the posthumous collection The Big Knockover (1966, edited by Lillian Hellman). Another volume of his stories, The Continental Op (1974, edited by Stephen Marcus), introduced the final Hammett character: the “Op,” a nameless detective (or “operative”) who displays little of his personality, making him a classic tough guy in the hard-boiled mold—a bit like Hammett himself.
Product Details ISBN: 9780679722625
ISBN-10: 0679722629
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Publication Date: July 17th, 1989
Pages: 224
Language: English
Series: Vintage Crime
"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