Red Harvest is the first novel by Dashiell Hammett. He was published in 1929 by the New York Publisher Alfred a. Knopf. In 1973 appeared at a Dutch translation of the workers press Else High under the title "blood red harvest".
Thanks to his background as an ex-pinkerton was Hammett very familiar with figures from the underworld and the work of a detective. In a lively, naturalistic style he outlines a realistic portrait of a fictional corrupt American city.
Hammetts main character, The Continental On, appears in thirty-six short stories, from which the writer substance derived for Red Harvest and The Dain Course for (1929). In stark contrast to the master-tech of the classic detective story is the On an employee of a detective agency that gives him various assignments. The On got from Hammett no first name, with which he consciously deviated of the personality cult of the classic detective. Its detective is short, overweight and is physically not attractive.
Red Harvest does have some away from a traditional western and begins with a stranger who comes in a town recover. There is a corrupt sheriff, a prostitute and numerous Gunslingers. However, Hammetts story takes place in the capitalist America of the Roaring Twenties, in which corruption is rampant.
The Continental on San Francisco to Personville are travelling from at the invitation of the newspaper publisher Donald Willsson. This is murdered before the Op has a chance to meet him. To investigate the murder of the starts. He soon discovers that Willsson has invited him related to a crusade that he with his newspaper wanted to take action against the rampant corruption in Personville, by the inhabitants themselves "Poisonville" (Gifstad) called. The violent Willssons own father, Elihu Willsson, old mining baron turns out here to sit behind. He regarded Personville as its own little Kingdom, until he was challenged by the IWW, an international Trade Union. To break the power of organized workers, had enabled Willsson criminals as stakingbrekers. The On manages to sow discord between the different gangs whereby the City turns into a battlefield. By the time his task accomplished, the blood flowed plentifully (hence the title "Red harvest") and there are some 30 victims.
The novel was not a success. Some reviewers saw in Red Harvest , a new kind of detective storyand praised Hammetts sharp dialogues and accurate representation of the seamy side of American society. André Gide found Red Harvest even a Hammetts's best books. Some critics saw in Red Harvest a Marxist attack on capitalism, because Hammett such a powerful picture of a greed-driven system. In Hammett's Red Harvest Anger: Radical writes Christopher Bentley, for example, that Hammett free enterprise and attacking the democracy: the first is in Red Harvest suggested as exploitation, and the second as corruption.
Paramount bought the film rights to in 1929 and spent a year later Roadhouse Nights out. The film showed little resemblance to Hammetts novel, although the main character, a journalist, Hammetts Operator lights on ("on") appears.