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Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
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Red Harvest (original 1929; edition 1989)

by Dashiell Hammett (Author)

Series: The Continental Op (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,653764,196 (3.84)164
The Continental Op investigates the killing of his client, the last honest citizen in an extremely corrupt town.
Member:Jemalu
Title:Red Harvest
Authors:Dashiell Hammett (Author)
Info:Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (1989), Edition: Reprint, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
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Work Information

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett (1929)

  1. 00
    The Plutonium Blonde by John Zakour (Vulco1)
    Vulco1: A detective who may or may not be in over his head has to figure out which sides are playing him.
  2. 11
    The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (JonathanGorman)
  3. 01
    Crimson Joy by Robert B. Parker (benfulton)
    benfulton: Crimson Joy is not as bloody or as detailed, but still worthy.
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» See also 164 mentions

English (70)  Spanish (5)  French (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Bumper Crop of Blood

The Continental Op, it would appear, knows more than old Cicero when it comes to the notion that there is honor among thieves. As the Op clearly demonstrates and uses to good effect in cleaning up a Western mining town, among thieves there is no honor. There is, however, an unhealthy lust for revenge. And that’s what Red Harvest concerns itself with, turning one thief against the other to produce a monumental harvest of blood. Notes on the novel state that the publisher asked Hammett to remove some of the violence from the draft presented to them. Given the finished product, we can only imagine a body counter double or triple what’s in the finished novel, virtually a gun battle on every page after the Op gets going.

Donald Willsson, owner of the local newspaper, hires the Continental Detective Agency and it dispatches the Continental Op to Personville, known by the locals as Poisonville. Upon his arrival, he finds that Willsson has been murdered. He confronts Willsson’s father, Elihu, an industrialist who controls the town, or once did until mobsters carved the town into their own fiefdoms. The Op persuades the old man into a deal wherein he will clean up the place and restore control to the old man.

In short order, the Op hooks up with Dinah Brand, moll to Max “Whisper” Thaler, a gang leader with a speech problem. Quite the avaricious one, she exchanges information for money, thus allowing the Op to learn secrets of and hobnob with the various gang leaders, Max, of course, Pete the Finn, Lew Yard, Reno Starkey, and others. Pretty much every criminal has a colorful name. He gets more info by befriending the corrupt police chief, Noonan. While he solves the murder of Donald Willsson in fairly short order, he works assiduously at using the info he gathers on the various gangs and Noonan to turn each against the other. Once seeded, the harvest of blood comes in quickly and bountifully. It’s suggested you not get too attached to a character because he or she probably isn’t long for this world.

Hammett writes with great energy whit, and Twenties criminal argot that plants you firmly in the era. As for a moral, and for that matter morality, it might be, keep your thoughts to yourself and think of the slaughter as the price of defeating evil, that glorious goal outweighing all the carnage. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Bumper Crop of Blood

The Continental Op, it would appear, knows more than old Cicero when it comes to the notion that there is honor among thieves. As the Op clearly demonstrates and uses to good effect in cleaning up a Western mining town, among thieves there is no honor. There is, however, an unhealthy lust for revenge. And that’s what Red Harvest concerns itself with, turning one thief against the other to produce a monumental harvest of blood. Notes on the novel state that the publisher asked Hammett to remove some of the violence from the draft presented to them. Given the finished product, we can only imagine a body counter double or triple what’s in the finished novel, virtually a gun battle on every page after the Op gets going.

Donald Willsson, owner of the local newspaper, hires the Continental Detective Agency and it dispatches the Continental Op to Personville, known by the locals as Poisonville. Upon his arrival, he finds that Willsson has been murdered. He confronts Willsson’s father, Elihu, an industrialist who controls the town, or once did until mobsters carved the town into their own fiefdoms. The Op persuades the old man into a deal wherein he will clean up the place and restore control to the old man.

In short order, the Op hooks up with Dinah Brand, moll to Max “Whisper” Thaler, a gang leader with a speech problem. Quite the avaricious one, she exchanges information for money, thus allowing the Op to learn secrets of and hobnob with the various gang leaders, Max, of course, Pete the Finn, Lew Yard, Reno Starkey, and others. Pretty much every criminal has a colorful name. He gets more info by befriending the corrupt police chief, Noonan. While he solves the murder of Donald Willsson in fairly short order, he works assiduously at using the info he gathers on the various gangs and Noonan to turn each against the other. Once seeded, the harvest of blood comes in quickly and bountifully. It’s suggested you not get too attached to a character because he or she probably isn’t long for this world.

Hammett writes with great energy whit, and Twenties criminal argot that plants you firmly in the era. As for a moral, and for that matter morality, it might be, keep your thoughts to yourself and think of the slaughter as the price of defeating evil, that glorious goal outweighing all the carnage. ( )
  write-review | Nov 4, 2021 |
Donald Willsson from Personville employs the Continetal Detective but Willsson is murdered before he can explain why. Corruption is everywhere in the town and he decides to stay and clean up the town.
A mystery with lots of death and violence.
A re-read for me of a great well-written story.
Originally written in 1929 ( )
  Vesper1931 | Jul 29, 2021 |
Can’t believe I haven’t read any Hammett beside Falcon until now ( )
  jimifenway | Feb 12, 2021 |
When I picked this book from my shelf, I thought it would be a quick and easy read, a kind of 'in between' a quicky to get some 1001-reading done, but nothing too hard, serious or depressing.
Well, it was a nice read, no doubt about that. But it wasn't a quick and easy one.
The plot/story itself is simple enough: clean a small town of all thugs and let it get back to the way it was before all the criminal elements took over.
The language it was written in was not easy, mostly because of the slang. I'm not a native speaker (and I've never had classes in English slang, like we had for Russian :-)), so it was kind of a slow read for me.
I'm still amazed: this must be the detective with the most (indirect) deaths on his conscience in literature. I've never encountered a similar character in all the detectives I've read thus far. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Jan 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (58 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hammett, Dashiellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dufris, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffman, H. LawrenceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marber, RomekCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortlepp, GunnarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Joseph Thompson Shaw
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I first heard Personville called Poisonville by a red-haired mucker named Hickey Dewey in the Big Ship in Butte.
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The Continental Op investigates the killing of his client, the last honest citizen in an extremely corrupt town.

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Haiku summary
Personville poisoned
Hero pits all against all
Hardboiled cleansing
(hardboiled)

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