• When the Sacred Ginmill Closes

  • A Matt Scudder Mystery
  • By: Lawrence Block
  • Narrated by: Mark Hammer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (258 ratings)

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When the Sacred Ginmill Closes  By  cover art

When the Sacred Ginmill Closes

By: Lawrence Block
Narrated by: Mark Hammer
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Publisher's Summary

When ex-cop Matt Scudder thought back on the summer of '75, two faces emerged from behind the smoky haze of a half dozen boozy saloons that made up his beat: Skip Devoe and Tommy Tillary - two bar flies he wouldn't have given a second thought to in the bright light of day. Yet they and their troubles were the reason that moved him a little farther out of the bleary-eyed mess that had become his life.
More mayhem? Listen to another Matt Scudder mystery.
©1986 Lawrence Block (P)1991 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Chilling." ( Washington Post)

What listeners say about When the Sacred Ginmill Closes

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great narration, great prose

Block paints a detailed portrait of New York's boozy underbelly while weaving in mystery, dirty deeds and self-doubt. The characters ring true--hopeless men and women who frequent dive bars and attempt to make sense of their lives. The narration is akin to listening to poetry.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This book kinda grows on you.

Lawrence Block has been a very prolific writer over a long career. Mark Hammer is an excellent narrator. The action of the book is set entirely in New York City. The action is also as booze-soaked as one can imagine, if one can imagine booze on every page. The book was written in 1975. The plot includes a stickup of an after-hours bar called Morrissey's, and also a murder in Brooklyn, as well as a theft of account books at another bar. At first the book seems caught in a time when people really did do that much drinking. Matt Scudder and his five or six friends are constantly hanging out in various bars, mainly drinking. However, the plot picks up speed as the crimes come close to solutions. As with many great whodunits, you will not be able to predict them. Mark Hammer's somewhat boozy voice works perfectly here. Aside from the alcoholism, the characters are believable denizens of NYC. Block has written at least one other book about Scudder, and a whole fleet of Bernie Rhodenbarr books. He has found an audience, and, you might be among them if you enjoy this. It isn't profound, but few mysteries are. It has action and good characters, and the view of NYC may be old, but it rings true. I have read some of Block's other books, and he can write. Enjoy.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I bought this sort of at random

I have never read anything by this author before. The book and the reader were both superb. I mean really fantastic. I was blown away at how much I enjoyed this story.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Solid crime srory

Lawrence Block writes a complex crime story but leaves his readers satisfied by making sense of all the clues, A little dark and occasionally slow-paced but very solid. overall.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Little action, lots of characters, boozing heavily

I love Block's books and enjoy Matt Scudder mysteries generally. However, this book disappointed because mostly there is a lot of meandering and conversations and talk about drinking with little or no relation to the mysteries. It picks up in the last 1/4 of the book, when developments occur that reveal, at least to Matt's satisfaction, whodunit. His behavior is novel with some nice twists at the end. I didn't find Matt's drinking buddies very intriguing and probably would have been satisfied had this been a short story.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

surprisingly good

after the last one that Lawrence block read himself I was almost ready to bail on the Matthew Scudder series. Mister block is a terrible narrator and I thought the ending was contrived and weak. this one has a wonderful and engrossing ending some of the best Pros I have read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great!!

Elegant writing. Masterful narration. The mood remains even after the book is over. And best of all, there are 17 more of them in my future!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

glad I stuck with it

I got kind of board with all of the bar talk and drinking. What kept me going was the narrator, Mark Hammer was perfect for the salty drinker bar voice.
I did like ending and was glad I didn't stop listening.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The reader

I like all these books, but the person reading a book for me the story, so boring. It was hard for me to pay attention.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I returned it

I have listened to a lot of Scudder stories and lived them. This was so slow and disjointed and really rudderless that I returned it. I couldn’t finish it.