RARA-AVIS: the Glass Key

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 23 Jan 2002

I'm currently reading "The Glass Key" by Hammett. I'm having a great time with this book, I think I probably like it even more than "Falcon" though I'll have to see how it ends.

a couple questions-

1. Where is the book supposed to be set? If it's mentioned, I didn't notice. Are the street names from a real city or is it supposed to be a fictional town? I thought some of the street names sounded like Baltimore
(Charles and I think Thames are mentioned), which I know was Hammett's hometown. I thought I had heard Albany mentioned in conjunction with this book, but it doesn't really make sense that a political boss in Albany would have so much clout in whether a Senator got elected since most of the votes in New York are in the City. Unless Henry is a state senator?

2. Until I got used to it, Hammett was driving me slightly crazy with constant references to the protagonist as "Ned Beaumont." The only other characters consistently referred to by first and last name are Janet Henry and Opal Madvig - which makes some sense as there are other Henrys and Madvigs in the story. But what's with the "Ned Beaumont" thing - is there some kind of stylistic or historical reason for this? I wondered if it started out as a first person story and an editor decided to change it at some point and just slipped the full name in for every I. I noticed John Shannon tends to call his protagonist "Jack Liffey" in almost every reference, too, so maybe it's a style choice?

3. I notice several film versions in the IMDB - any critical comments on either or both? My local video store has a pretty good noir collection so I could probably find even the more obscure version if it exists.


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