City. Unlike Hammett’s story The Maltese Falcon (1930), which carefully delineates the streets and buildings of San Francisco, The Glass Key’s primary locale is an unspecified eastern city of apparently modest size. The generic city locale allows Hammett to generalize about American society and the effect of political corruption and crime on the social structure of U.S. urban environments. Hammett was critical of the form of capitalism that he saw operating in the United States and used his criticism in his fiction to fashion a world of injustice and exploitation. The use of a mythical, unnamed city also provided him with a location lacking in familiar touchstones which might prove distracting to his readers and deflected the social and ethical impact of the narrative.
Log Cabin Club
Log Cabin Club. Gambling club on China Street that is the scene for several key episodes. The image of gambling is important in the novel’s narrative and reinforces Hammett’s generally existential view of a world ruled by chance and of the loss of a uniform set of values.
*New York City
*New York City. An interlude set in New York City provides a concrete locale that neatly replicates the nasty world left unspecified by the anonymous one. The presence of New York suggests that in both the fictional world of the novel and the real world corruption and violence are in control.
Beaumont apartment. Residence of the amateur detective Ned Beaumont in the unnamed city. Hammett does not give this place an address or offer much in the way of description. The apartment functions as a...
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