Monday, November 24, 2014

THE CRAZY KILL by Chester Himes


*Book 3 of the Harlem Cycle*

The 3rd novel in Himes's Harlem Cycle begins like a twisted Harlem version of an Agatha Christie mystery. During a liquor-filled wake for Big Joe Pullen, a man is killed on a bread basket with a very distinctive knife. There are many at the wake who have motive for killing him, including his sister Dulcy, her husband Johnny Perry, her wanna-be lover, Chink Charlie Dawson, the victim's girlfriend Doll Baby, and their opium-addicted Holy Roller preacher. But instead of Miss Marple trying to find out who did it, it's Harlem's two gun-happy detectives Grave Digger and Coffin Ed!

This book is more of a straight murder mystery than the first two novels and the plot is much more complicated and confusing, with many characters and motivations introduced in the first chapter. But Chester Himes's hard-hitting, satirical prose is still in full effect here! While not as remarkable as the previous books, this one is still entertaining!

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