The Red Harvest
Around 225 pages
Once in a blue moon, I crave a hard-boiled detective novel, where characters drink so much scotch it makes my stomach hurt just reading about it. We're just easing into the concept with this novel, but it's a fun introduction to broads and blackjacks.
The story is told from the point of view of the Continental Op, an unnamed detective. The story draws on Hammett's own experience as a Pinkerton detective, which is hot. He is called to Personville by Donald Willsson, a newspaper publisher who is murdered before he can meet with the Continental Op. Our narrator then meets with Willsson's father, a local industrialist who has recently enlisted street gangs to end the local labor disputes, not realizing that the Sharks and the Jets don't dance together. Oh and there's a dame obviously.
This genre of novel is always fun, only slightly less fun than doing the voices (I do a great Humphrey Bogart). This story actually has more to say than the usual hard-boiled detective story, as the backdrop of the novel is a labor revolt rooted in real life events.
A nice introduction of things to come.
Andre Gide called the book "a remarkable achievement, the last word in atrocity, cynicism, and horror."
Inspired by the Anaconda Road massacre.
UP NEXT: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Welcome back to the blog Papa.