The title is derived from Dashiell Hammett
's novel Red Harvest
. Although there is no single official definition, being blood simple
, or getting the fever
, as Hammett later refers to it, is being surrounded by murder
until murder becomes in your own mind a viable solution to practically any problem. Life becomes cheap
, killing begets more killing
"What have you been doing?" she demanded as we carried our drinks into the dining room. "You look ghastly."
I put my glass on the table, sat down facing it, and complained:
"This damned burg's getting me. If I don't get away soon I'll be going blood simple like the natives. There's been what? A dozen and a half murders since I've been here. Donald Willsson; Ike Bush; the four wops and the dick at Cedar Hill; Jerry; Lew Yard; Dutch Jake, Blackie Whalen and Put Collings at the Silver Arrow; Big Nick, the copper I potted; the blond kid Whisper dropped here; Yakima Shorty, old Elihu's prowler; and now Noonan. That's sixteen of them in less than a week, and more coming up."
She frowned at me and said sharply:
"Don't look like that."
I laughed and went on:
"I've arranged a killing or two in my time, when they were necessary. But this is the first time I've ever
got the fever. It's this damned burg. You can't go straight here. I got myself tangled at the beginning. When old Elihu ran out on me there was nothing I could do but try to set the boys against each other. I had to swing the job
the best way I could. How could I help it if the best way was bound to lead to a lot of killing? The job couldn't
be handled any other way without Elihu's backing."
-- Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest, 1929