-- Ned Beaumont
Unlike Hammett's other creations, Sam Spade, The Continental Op and or even Nick Charles, NED BEAUMONT is not a private eye. He's a political hanger-on, a cigar-smoking, hard-drinking gambler with a weakness for money and women. He's tall, slim, with a mustache, and obsessed with personal honour, More than one wag has suggested that he was, in many ways, Hammett himself (a charge also often aimed at Nick Charles, in fact), and they're probably not completely off-base.
He may not be an eye, but Beaumont certainly shares more than a few tributes with Hammett's other heroes (and Hammett himself), including, most importantly, a sense of loyalty and honour. Just as The Op pledges allegiance to The Continental Detective Agency, and Sam Spade sets out to avenge Miles Archer's death (even though he didn't like him much) so does Ned stick his own neck out, in the name of nothing more than friendship. To clear his pal, Paul Madvig, a flashy, corrupt politico, from a trumped-up murder charge, Ned takes the law into his own hands, in Hammett's The Glass Key, first serialized in Black Mask, and later published in book form in 1931.
It was later adapted into a film, in both 1935 and 1942.
SERIALIZED IN BLACK MASK:
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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