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The Conjure-Man Dies

by Rudolph Fisher - £8.99  HarperCollins Publishers (2021)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780008216474 | ISBN 10: 0008216479

A unique crime classic: the very first detective novel written by an African-American, set in 1930s New York with only Black characters.
 
When the body of N'Gana Frimbo, the African conjure-man, is discovered in his consultation room, Perry Dart, one of Harlem's ten Black police detectives, is called in to investigate. Together with Dr Archer, a physician from across the street, Dart is determined to solve the baffling mystery, helped and hindered by Bubber Brown and Jinx Jenkins, local boys keen to clear themselves of suspicion of murder and undertake their own investigations.
 
The Conjure-Man Dies was the very first detective novel written by an African-American. A distinguished doctor and accomplished musician and dramatist, Rudolph Fisher was one of the principal writers of the Harlem Renaissance, but died in 1934 aged only 37. With a gripping plot and vividly drawn characters, Fisher's witty novel is a remarkable time capsule of one of the most exciting eras in the history of Black fiction.
 
This crime classic is introduced by New York crime writer Stanley Ellin, and includes Rudolph Fisher's last published story, 'John Archer's Nose', in which Perry Dart and Dr Archer return to solve the case of a young man murdered in his own bed.

(Price & availability last checked: January 2021)

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