Red Harvest is a novel by Dashiell Hammett. The story is narrated by The Continental Op, a frequent character in Hammett's fiction. Hammett based the story on his own experiences in Butte, Montana as... More > an operative of the Pinkerton Detective Agency (fictionalized as the Continental Detective Agency). The labor dispute in the novel was inspired by Butte's Anaconda Road Massacre.
Nobel Prize-winning French author André Gide called the book "a remarkable achievement, the last word in atrocity, cynicism, and horror."
The Continental Op is called to Personville (known as "Poisonville" to the locals) by Donald Willsson, who is murdered before the Op has a chance to meet with him. The Op begins to investigate Willsson's murder and meets with Willsson's father, Elihu, a local industrialist who has found his control of the city threatened by several competing gangs. He had originally invited those gangs into Personville to help him impose and then enforce the end of a labor dispute.< Less