Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett is the story of an anonymous Continental op, a private dick, that is hired by newspaper man Donald Willsson to come to Personville for a case. As soon as he arrives in Personville, which is sometimes called Poisonville, his employer is murdered before they can meet. So begins the story of intrigue and deceit in which the Continental op finds himself in the middle of a war between four men who want to run Personville.
I was quite disappointed by this novel. I love the movie Yojimbo, which is said to based, in part, on Red Harvest. Perhaps this led me to set the bar too high, but I did not feel that Red Harvest lived up to its billing. It was entertaining, sure, but it really wasn't anything special. So, if you like noir, give it a try. Otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere for your fill of crime and punishment.