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When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder Mysteries) [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Block
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback, 31 Dec 1997 --  

Book Description

31 Dec 1997 Matthew Scudder Mysteries
Scudder is a witness to a heist in an illegal drinking den, and the owners would like him to find the culprits, while another witness wants him to investigate the murder of his wife.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; Reprint edition (31 Dec 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380728257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380728251
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,990,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Another blistering novel from the author of A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lawrence Block was awarded the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger in 2004. He is also a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America. He is the author of many novels and short stories and has won numerous awards for his mystery writing. He lives and works in New York City. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The windows at Morrissey's were painted black. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Matt Scudder is living in a residential hotel in New York City after leaving his marriage of twelve years. A former police officer, Matt now works as a private investigator. He does not charge a regular fee but will request an advance and then ask for more if he thinks he has earned it. Often he puts ten percent of his advance in a poor box at any church he may visit at random.
Matt is sitting in Morrissey's Bar when it is held up by two gunmen. The owners do not want to involve the authorities, but instead offer a reward of $10,000 for the identity of the two gunmen.
Tommy Tillary is a securities salesman who frequents Armstrong's Bar, one of Matt's favorite hangouts. Tommy's wife is stabbed to death in their home in Brooklyn during an apparent burglary. Tommy has an alibi for the crime since he was seen in public with his girl friend on that particular evening. However, the two burglars are caught and they claim Tommy hired them to burglarize his home for insurance purposes but they deny killing his wife. The police learn that Mrs. Tillary's estate is about to inherit $500,000 from an aunt and a life insurance policy will pay another $300,000 to Tommy. The police then see Tommy as having 800,000 reasons to kill his wife. Tommy asks Matt to find sufficient evidence to clear him and salvage his reputation.
Matt has another friend named Skip Devoe who is a partner in a noisy establishment on Ninth just below Fifty-Sixth. Skip keeps two sets of books and somebody steals the honest set. The books are being held for a ransom of $50,000 and Skip hires Matt to help retrieve them.
Matt now has three crimes to solve and he is working on all of them simultaneously, although he is seldom sober enough to fully concentrate on them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 11 Oct 2002
By A Customer
This is the first Matt Scudder book I read and possibly the best although it would be a difficult choice. The book works equally well on a number of levels and manages to keep the different storylines equelly interesting. The title is taken from a song by Dave van Ronk which perfectly mirrors the book. The feeling permeating the book is sadness, sadness at lost opportunities, at broken friendships and love that is not strong enough to make a difference. It is difficult to praise this book too highly.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Block does it again 5 Oct 2000
"When The Sacred Ginmill Closes" sees Matt Scudder back in action in New York City. Unusually for the Scudder series, it is told in flashback although only at the start and the end.
Scudder is asked to find the robbers of an after hours drinking club, and from this a story errupts concerning a bartenders stolen books and the murder of the wife of one of Scudder occasional drinking partners.
This is an important novel in the Scudder series as it sees a transition from the alcoholic Scudder to the non drinking one of the later novels. This marks a change in direction of the series, and develops the character in an interesting manner.
Lawrence Block's writing is as superb as ever, wiht every sentence sparkling with quality. The plot is believable and progresses at a quick pace. The only criticism of this novel is that the resolution seems be a little easy.
Overall, another fine Lawrence Block novel, and another good entry in the Matt Scudder series. But does Lawrence Block ever write a bad book?
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Array of Runyonesque Characters 27 Mar 2003
Matt Scudder is living in a residential hotel in New York City after leaving his marriage of twelve years. A former police officer, Matt now works as a private investigator. In spite of Matt's depressing lifestyle, the book does have its lighter side and the reader is entertained throughout by an array of Runyonesque characters who hang around the bars near Columbus Circle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AN EPIC BUT MOURNFUL SOJOURN!!! 28 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This book opens with a bang. Literally. Matthew Scudder is sitting with some buddies in early July when a large explosion shatters the conversational tranquility that is enveloping the place and before peace is returned in full, the bar is held up and a small fortune is taken. Eventually (three chapters in) Matt agrees to take the job of finding out whodunit, and the whydunit, but before he makes much progress, the wife of a friend of a friend is killed and once more the task of finding the killer falls in the lap of our hero.

Some books contain a chapter or a phrase that is so extraordinary and so beautiful that it lifts the work above the realm of the ordinary and into the space or territory of the mythical. When the Sacred Gin Mill Closes is like this. Chapter twelve opens in a drab, samey manner (just like its preceding sibling chapters) with our man Scud drinking his way through the three simultaneous mysteries he is attempting to solve. After ensuring one of his clients gets home safely after a hard and depressing night on the booze, he leaves his own apartment at some insane hour and finds himself drinking bourbon at Armstrong's. Conversation with the owner takes precedence over drinking and before Scudder knows it, he is (we are) experiencing and learning about the heart-breakingly beautiful paralytic dancers from Dave Van Ronk's mournful jazz masterpiece, "When the sacred Gin Mill closes". I won't infringe copyright by quoting the text here but rest assured this section of the book is worth the cost of admission alone.

Back in the real world, days after the first listen, Scudder is helping his buddies solve a minor problem of extortion, and the song is still playing on his mind. Just like mine. And yours, too, when you read it.
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