A dazzling collection of crime and mystery stories by Black authors.
Bringing together today's brightest talent from the field—from Walter Mosley, “one of America's best mystery writers” (The New York Times), to the late Hugh Holton, whose “gift for retaining suspense is golden” (Chicago Sun-Times)—it is the first anthology of African-American mystery writers. Shades of Black is not only a tribute to the art of storytelling, it's a fascinating foray into the rich and widely varied Black experience.
Includes stories by:
Frankie Y. Bailey • Jacqueline Turner Banks • Chris Benson • Eleanor Taylor Bland and Anthony Bland • Patricia E. Canterbury • Christopher Chambers • Tracy Clark • Evelyn Coleman • Grace F. Edwards • Robert Greer • Terris MacMahan Grimes • Gar Anthony Haywood • Hugh Holton • Geri Spencer Hunter • Dicey Scroggins Jackson • Glenville Lovell • Lee E. Meadows • Penny Mickelbury • Walter Mosley • Percy Spurlark Parker • Gary Phillips • Charles Shipps
Talking about African-American mystery writers, editor Bland says, "In my opinion, the most significant contribution we have made, collectively, to mystery fiction is the development of the extended family; the permanence of spouses and significant others, most of whom don't die in the first three chapters or by the end of the novel; children who are complex, wanted, and loved; and even pets." And while some of the 22 stories in this excellent anthology are as hard as nails and as noir as a night in Thompsonville (such as Gary Phillips's "Beginner's Luck," which stars Chainey, his no-nonsense former Las Vegas stripper, and Walter Mosley's short, pungent "Bombardier"), most of them do have a strong sense of family. Bland's own "Murder on the Southwest Chief," written with her 15-year-old son, Anthony, has her suburban Chicago cop Marti MacAlister using her sons' journals to solve a crime. Frankie Y. Bailey's "Since You Went Away" is another corking railroad yarn, featuring Lizzie Stuart's grandfather, a Pullman porter, in a tale of jealousy and sexual repression in 1946. The feeling of extended family includes a tribute to the late Hugh Holton, a Chicago police captain and prolific mystery writer, by historian Lerone Bennett Jr., even though Holton's own entry, "The Werewolf File," is a dark and rather bloody tale. Some of the other contributors' names may be new to casual mystery readers, but part of the pleasure of this wide-ranging volume is welcoming them to the family.