Mystery Scene Magazine

At the Scene, January 2011               Solving the mystery of what to give next!
In this Issue
Greetings from MS
Wallace Stroby on Hammett
Win a Year of Mystery Scene
New Year Reads
Win a Year of Mystery Scene
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Intent to Sell
3rd Edition

by Jeffrey Marks
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$17.95 pb
Hilliard & Harris

ISBN 978-1591331162

Happy New Year

Wallace Stroby on reading, e-January at, favorite author group blogs, win a year of Mystery Scene and more

Hi everyone,

No time like the new year for new media. This month will feature special articles on e-books and digital publishing. Lawrence Block will talk about his one-man backlist blitz, MS writers will share favorite online blogs, interactive books series, and we'll offer a look at what the plugged-in mystery fan can look forward to in the future.

This month we're also pleased to continue our Writers on Reading series in 2011, kicking it off with crime writer Wallace Stroby who shares why Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key made such an impression on him as a teen reader.

Kate Stine

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Wallace Stroby on The Glass Key
Passions, Power, Humanity & Hammett

Dashiell Hammett's THE GLASS KEYThe Glass Key was Dashiell Hammett's fourth - and, as it turned out, next-to-last - novel. First published in 1931, it came on the heels of The Maltese Falcon, one of the greatest crime novels of all time.


But if you ask me, The Glass Key deserves that honor even more. For me, it's the uber-Hammett, where his life experience, world view and narrative skills came fully together. Reading it as a teenager changed the way I looked at crime fiction forever.


The protagonist of The Glass Key is Ned Beaumont, but calling him a "hero" is a bit of a stretch. He's a fixer for political boss and longtime friend Paul Madvig, but mostly he's an inveterate gambler, drinker and womanizer. As Madvig's right-hand man, he speaks truth to power when his boss ventures a foolish move out of pride or anger. But Ned's also a diplomat, trying to keep peace between the unnamed city's rival gangs on the eve of an important election. All this is threatened when Madvig falls in love with a much younger woman, and finds himself accused of her brother's murder. Suddenly his whole political empire is at risk, as well as the sweet life Ned has orchestrated for himself.


There's ostensibly a mystery here - who killed young gadabout Taylor Henry? - but it's almost irrelevant. What matters is Ned's slowly deteriorating friendship with Madvig, and his attraction to the woman that's come between them, climaxing in a final betrayal that's so low-key it's almost unspoken.


The Maltese Falcon is a great American novel, no question. But when I read The Glass Key, nearly 50 years after it was first published, I knew I'd stumbled onto something else entirely, something that respected the form of the detective novel, but was deeply rooted in recognizable human behavior and situations. This wasn't about colorful criminals chasing each other around the globe in pursuit of a mythical treasure. This was about men and women, friendship and loyalty, power and corruption. It felt real. It felt like life.

Wallace Stroby's Cold Shot to the HeartWallace Stroby's latest is Cold Shot to the Heart (Minotaur Books, January 2011).

"Writers on Reading" is a special ongoing Mystery Scene series available as a first look exclusive to our newsletter subscribers. 

Blog Together Now
A roundup of group blogs from your favorite authors

blog and pen imageAs part of our e-January look at all things digital and web this month, MS Contributor Oline Cogdill shares some of her favorite group author blogs. 


Read the article here.


Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

"I'm a rich man. To have everything
you need is the definition of affluence.
- The notoriously unencumbered
Jack Reacher in Gone Tomorrow
by Lee Child

Four Reads Set in the New Year from

Bill Pronzini, The Hidden    Kelli Stanley, City of Dragons    Jacqueline Winspear, Among the Mad    Charles Todd, A Long Shadow


Win a free year of Mystery Scene
And get news, interesting links, fun quotes, contest info, and giveaways via Twitter!

 MS Holliday #117To kick off the new year, Mystery Scene has set a goal of 1000 Twitter followers in the next few weeks.

On the day we reach 1000 followers, we'll celebrate by giving away FIVE ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTIONS to five lucky Twitter followers drawn at random.


Follow us at @MysteryScene


AND CONGRATULATIONS to Deb R from Audubon, Pennsylvania, winner of our MS Gift-away package of four thrilling novels. Happy reading Deb! Thank you to everyone who shared Mystery Scene as a gift this holiday season.

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2010 Mystery Scene Magazine