Apr 182012

Paperback 518: Pocket Books 241 (1st ptg, 1943)

Title: Red Harvest
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Cover artist: H. Lawrence Hoffman

Yours for: $17

Best things about this cover:
  • A classic hard-boiled novel. This one’s been well read, but is still solid. Pleasantly aged. Late-night, nearly-empty bus station quality.
  • That’s a pretty awful hand. And the smoke looks like a poop parsnip. And the blood is orange. I still like it.
  • Haven’t read this in a Long while. Might be time.

Best things about this back cover:
  • “A BLOODY HUMORESQUE” = gold! Like you’d Ever see a word like “humoresque” on a piece of popular fiction now. 
  • Ellipsis … much?
  • “Choice underworld vernacular” pretty much says it all about what makes the best hard-boiled writing so delectable.
  • “A harvest of ill-grown crimson weeds!”
  • Wait, those are quotes??? Had they not yet figured out the standard for blurb presentation yet in 1943? “What if we just throw all these sentences down in a jumble, separate them with ellipses, then just list the names of the quotation authors in a heap at the end. Readers will love that.”

Page 123~

“Now hop to it,” I said. “And don’t kid yourself that there’s any law in Poisonville except what you make for yourself.”

Hardboiled philosophy has rarely been so clearly, succinctly, perfectly expressed.


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