New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1929. First edition. Publisher's cloth binding stamped in black and yellow. Lacking the rare dust jacket. Scarce in this condition, with the spine and boards a brilliant, unfaded red. A bright, clean copy with no internal markings.
The first of Hammett's novels, Red Harvest drew on his true-to-life experience as an operative for the notorious Pinkerton Detective Agency. Narrated by Continental Op, who becomes a recurring character in Hammett's work, the novel explores humans' violent tendencies when power and money are on the line. Arriving in town too late to meet his newspaper contact, who is murdered, Continental Op decides nevertheless to stay. He discovers that rival gangs have begun to loosen the control of the local industrialist (and father to the newspaperman) who had long been considered the most powerful figure in town. And as he begins to uncover how deeply corruption runs in the town, even implicating the police force, Continental Op becomes a target of a murder setup. An intellectual edge-of-your-seat thriller, Red Harvest launched Hammett's career and has secured itself a place on the 100 Best English Language Novels 1923-2005. Near Fine (Item #3135)