Dashiell Hammett: The Glass Key

(832 words)
  • Lee Horsley (Lancaster University)

The editor of Black Mask, Joseph T. Shaw, said in defence of his magazine in 1930 that he had published only one story, the serialised parts of Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key, in which the gangster was in any sense the hero, and this, he claimed, was justified as a representation of the alliance between corrupt politicians, public officials and organised crime. It was a demonstration of “one of the most serious illnesses, to put it mildly, that our body politic has ever suffered from.” During the 1930s, it became increasingly common for American hard-boiled writers to create criminal protagonists, but The Glass Key, published in Black Mask between March and June 1930, was one of the earliest of …

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Horsley, Lee. "The Glass Key". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 October 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=789, accessed 06 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Crime, Detective, Spy/ Thriller Fiction