The Glass Key
Hard Cover. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1931. First Edition. Very Good.
First edition, first printing of the author's fourth novel. Bound in the publisher's orange cloth, with a key image stamped in black to the front board, with steel blue and black stamped decorations to the spine. A very good copy with a slight lean to spine, spine ends lightly worn with a touch of fraying to the upper spine, cloth lightly faded, contemporary former owner inscription from 1931 to the front endpaper. Unlike his previous three novels, Hammett's classic crime noir novel The Glass Key does not feature a detective as the main character. However, the novel's protagonist is perhaps Hammett's most hard-boiled; the text features Ned Beaumont, a morally questionable political fixer for the crooked construction magnate Paul Madvig, in a plot that involves a complicated murder case that exposes multiple layers of corruption and betrayal. Said to be one of Hammett's favorites of his own novels, The Glass Key is unusual in that it provides the reader with enough clues that he or she could conceivably solve the mystery before the author reveals the true perpetrator. A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone.