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Making Crime Pay

I write and review crime fiction and thrillers and teach fiction writing and publishing at SSU.

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett

Featuring the nameless detective the “Continental Op” the lead in Red Harvest lay the foundation for the hardboiled detective archetype. The Op is hired by a newspaper magnet’s son and forced into action immediately upon arrival in Poisonville, a mining town in Montana, when he learns his client has been killed. He begins working for the victim’s father, promising to clean up a dirty town full of bent cops, teamsters and rival hoods. The Red Harvest of the title refers to the blood-letting which ensues.


It’s not great on plotting but big on atmosphere and brilliant dialogue. On a deeper level, scholars have discussed it in terms of being an allegory about organised labour, and even a Marxist critique of capitalism. Later on the newspaper man was seen to be a coded version of George Hearst, the Montana mine-owner whose son William controlled California newspapers and politics in Hammett’s day.


Source: http://www.edensharp.com/crime-library