Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Red Harvest

From: Patrick King (
Date: 14 Sep 2009

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    First effort? Leaving aside the fact that, as Dave has already pointed out, Hammett had already written more than twenty short stories about the Op, and a number of non-series stories as well, RED HARVEST isn't even his first novel. BLOOD MONEY, though it wouldn't be published in book form for more than a decade, had already been serialized in BLACK MASK before RED HARVEST had either been serialized or printed up between boards.


    It was his first full length novel, Jim. He did not know for certain how it was going to work out. Poisonville is not as vividly drawn as the town in THE GLASS KEY, or FALCON'S San Fran or THE THIN MAN'S New York. The organization that runs Poisonville is not as clearly portrayed as the organization in GLASS KEY, either. The people in the novel are not as clearly described as Hammett learned to do later. Hammett leaks info about the Continental Op. One doesn't get a clear picture of the protagonist. Little by little you learn he's short, fat, bald and rumpled. RED HARVEST is an excellent book. It is Hammett's first, not his best.

    Patrick King


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