Red Harvest single-handedly outdid every interactive Nancy Drew game I have ever played. It is hard to believe that such a slew of crime could be centralized in one place, which made the book such an interesting read. I found it so jam packed with crime and punishment that it was almost hard to follow at times. All the actions in the book were outrageous, from the first Willsson murder that was treated so nonchalantly up until the chain of murders at the end. What is more, I thought, were our character’s reactions to them. They were so cavalier that I had to constantly remind myself what it must be like to live in such a hot bed of crime. This is emphasized in our detective’s last interaction with Dinah Brand, when he claims that the town has poisoned him; even changed the way this man went about his profession of 20+ years. This made me appreciate the foreshadowing in the very first chapter when we hear of the Poisonville distinction on the town’s name.
The characters are what also made the novel, so I found. They were so positively strong and sensational that it almost made you want the next crime to happen, simply for the uprising that was sure to follow. Although Prof Groom dropped a hint of what would happen to Dinah towards the end of the novel in our class on Tuesday, I still gasped very audibly when our Continental Op woke up next to her dead body after his last encounter with her. Up until this point, I hadn’t even realized how enveloped I really was by the novel and its happenings. Speaking of our Continental Op, his character intrigued me almost as much as Dinah’s did. I found him to be such a man of acquired skill and quite unlike anyone I’ve met in real life that it was quite interesting to gauge his interactions and how they differed amongst the people he was talking with. He seemed very cold and calculated at the beginning of the novel towards Mrs. Willsson, but then you see Dinah open up a side of him that was almost unbecoming because it seemed almost out of character. This only emphasized Albury’s unbelievable description of her before things even got juicy. Elihu Willsson was another favorite of mine. Despite how frustrating he seemed to be, his indignation and short temper were an amusing change of pace from the serious foreboding you found in the other characters. I did not care for those he was trying to rid the town of, for obvious questions in character and greed. Greed also seemed to be a common motif in this novel, amongst pretty much everyone who ended up dying. Watching the crimes, even from long ago, unravel and fold themselves out was baffling as well as delightful for me.
Overall, although tricky to follow at times due to the extraordinary chain of events, I found Red Harvest quite entertaining and unlike any books I’ve delved into thus far. This makes me anxious for our readings and follow ups on them for the rest of the semester.