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The Glass KeyThe Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was enjoyable but not as much so as The Maltese Falcon. The style does take a little getting used to. It’s very sparse, which I don’t mind, except sometimes the description given was hard to understand. Someone moving their shoulders—that vague—was something used a number of times, especially for the main character, and I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to mean or signify. So sometimes things like that were lost on me. I could see a lot of the types of reactions, which could sometimes be either extreme or a bit out of nowhere, flipping and flopping, translated well into film noir for sure, but on the page it isn’t always so smooth and didn’t always make sense to me.
I loved the historical value of the book. The unusual phrases from the 1930s, the clothes, the expectations, the language that wasn’t allowed in even pre-code movies—that was the best part to me.
The mystery was a good one and I didn’t figure it out until the very end.
So although the style isn’t my favorite, I did enjoy the read and would recommend it to anyone interested in reading what writing was like back in the 1930s—this is much faster paced than a lot of books from that time period and before.
I’m off to watch the 1935 movie version and then the 1942 version to see how they compare to the book and each other!

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Read Dashiell Hammett’s books

In the mood to read another era? Check out my historical suspense books and short stories.

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