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The Essential Harlem Detectives

The Essential Harlem Detectives

by Chester Himes, Introduction by S. A. Cosby

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The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A one-volume selection of four novels in the legendary detective series—blistering, groundbreaking capers set in Harlem’s criminal underworld—by master crime writer Chester Himes. With an introduction by New York Times bestselling author S.A. Cosby.

“[Himes] put a spin on crime fiction—emphasizing urban atmosphere, street smarts, and uptown carryings-on—unlike anything the genre had previously seen.” —The Boston Globe


“Himes’s Harlem saga vies with the novels of David Goodis and Jim Thompson as the inescapable achievement of postwar American crime fiction.” —The New York Times

“His implacable drive to examine the Black experience, the disingenuous nature of the American Dream, the reality of pain and sorrow and what it does to the soul, that is what makes [Himes] the bard of the existential African American psyche.” —S.A. Cosby, from his Introduction

Here in one volume is an exceptional selection from Chester Himes’s acclaimed Harlem Detectives series. Winner of France’s prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and lauded by Jean Cocteau as a “prodigious masterpiece,” A Rage in Harlem introduces detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson in a searing escapade. In The Real Cool Killers, the duo investigates a shooting and discovers an unsettling personal connection. In The Crazy Kill, a man is found in a breadbasket, stabbed to death, leaving Himes’s detectives to find out who among the many suspects did it. And in Cotton Comes to Harlem, the brazen robbery of a notorious con man running a back-to-Africa scam sets off a hunt for a bale of Southern cotton. These masterful novels exhibit Himes’s evocative, baroque descriptions of Black life in Harlem and his famously blistering social commentary. 

Everyman’s Library pursues the highest production standards, printing on acid-free paper, with full-cloth cases with two-color foil stamping, decorative endpapers, silk ribbon markers, European-style half-round spines, and a full-color illustrated jacket. Contemporary Classics include an introduction, a select bibliography, and a chronology of the author’s life and times.

“The best writer of mayhem yarns since Raymond Chandler.” —San Francisco Chronicle

ISBN-13: 9781101908396
Publisher: Everyman’s Library
Publication Date: February 6, 2024
Pages: 712
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