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Rudolph Fisher (1897–1934)

Forfatter af The Conjure-Man Dies

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Om forfatteren

Includes the name: Fisher Rudolph

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Værker af Rudolph Fisher

The Conjure-Man Dies (1932) 167 eksemplarer
The Walls of Jericho (1978) 63 eksemplarer
Joy and Pain (1996) 4 eksemplarer

Associated Works

The New Negro: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance (1925) — Bidragyder — 430 eksemplarer
The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader (1994) — Bidragyder — 403 eksemplarer
Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White (1998) — Bidragyder — 117 eksemplarer
Voices from the Harlem Renaissance (1976) — Bidragyder — 105 eksemplarer
Harlem Renaissance: Four Novels of the 1930s (2011) — Bidragyder — 99 eksemplarer
Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America (1995) — Bidragyder — 91 eksemplarer
Memory of Kin: Stories About Family by Black Writers (1990) — Bidragyder — 65 eksemplarer
Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor (2006) — Bidragyder — 65 eksemplarer
American Negro Short Stories (1966) — Bidragyder — 61 eksemplarer
Harlem Renaissance Novels: The Library of America Collection (2011) — Bidragyder — 48 eksemplarer
Classic Fiction of the Harlem Renaissance (1994) — Bidragyder — 39 eksemplarer
Harlem: Voices from the Soul of Black America (1970) — Bidragyder — 9 eksemplarer

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This is a 1930s murder mystery set in Harlem, the first murder mystery written by a black author with an all-black cast: black victim, black suspects, black detectives, including a black police detective and a black physician. It's been republished a few times since, most recently as part of the Library of Congress's "Crimes Classics" series, with an introduction and footnotes by Leslie S. Klinger.

It's pretty good, if not great. The basic premise is that a "conjure-man" has apparently been killed, and there are all too many suspects; a police detective and a doctor end up working together to solve the crime. The opening half is the best part, with the detective methodically interviewing and verifying the different suspects and accumulating all the clues, aided by the insight of the doctor. We get a lot of different segments of 1930s Harlem life; my favorite was Bubber Brown, who used to be a street sweeper but decided to launch a new career as a private detective investigating infidelity, reasoning anybody can follow someone. He's a funny character, and the source of the book's best jokes. (When Detective Dart points out he can't put "Inc." on his business card if he's not actually incorporated, Bubber claims it says "ink" because he's black.)

As the mystery unspooled, I found it got a bit overcomplicated and technical, and the ending felt very abrupt. I mean, I know you don't want a mystery to be very guessable, but I wasn't convinced this one was guessable at all, based on the clues provided. Enjoyable, and I'd recommend it, but unlikely to be anyone's favorite. I am curious to track down the previous appearance of Bubber and his friend Jinx Jenkins in Fisher's first novel, The Walls of Jericho. (Speaking of which, though overall Klinger's apparatus is pretty good, with lots of useful clarifications, but not condescending overexplanations, I had to infer these characters were reused from an earlier book by a passing reference in a footnote; weirdly, it's never explicitly stated.)
… (mere)
Stevil2001 | 15 andre anmeldelser | Jul 22, 2023 |
A look into the Harlem of the 1930s: conjure men, numbers runners, dope fiends, men hustling for a living, the middle class and professionals all mixed together. A black police detective and a physician work together to solve the murder of an African who works as a psychic, the disappearance of his body and his reappearance alive. Several clients on the premises at the time of the death are suspects and tracing their movements and associates results in a tour of the underbelly of the society. This edition also contains a short story: "John Archer's Nose" with cogent commentary on the common superstitions of the time.… (mere)
ritaer | 15 andre anmeldelser | Apr 14, 2023 |
* I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. *

Frimbo is a conjure-man living in 1930s Harlem, who claims to be able to read people's future for them. One night, a group of customers is waiting for a session with him. One of them rushes out saying that he is dead. Dr Archer is fetched from across the road, and he pronounces him dead on the spot. The Harlem police, led by Detective Dart, are called in to investigate.

As Dart investigates, assisted by Archer, things are thrown into chaos when Frimbo reappears, apparently risen from the dead.

Fisher's story has plenty of clever twists, and a resolution that I did not foresee. As with a writer like James Ellroy, the reader needs to get used to the patois and slang spoken by his characters, and there are footnotes to help with some of the more arcane usages.

This is a really interesting initiative of the Library of Congress, and they are saying that this is the first detective novel written by a black American author. As such, its language needs to be appreciated for its historical significance; some of the terms used in the book would be offensive today.
… (mere)
gjky | 15 andre anmeldelser | Apr 9, 2023 |
The Conjure-Man Dies is a detective novel long forgotten, but now getting a new lease on life thanks to the Library of Congress. The novel, the first to feature a black detective, tells of the investigation into the death of Frimbo, an African soothsayer practicing in Harlem. Dr. John Archer, a.black physician (like the author), who lives across the street from the now deceased Frimbo, joins forces with Detective Dart, a black man, to solve the murder. Without spilling the beans, the plot is somewhat convoluted, helping to maintain interest, and the resolution is a surprise.

This well written novel is more than just an historical curiosity. While it gives the reader an insight into life in Harlem during its golden age, it is also a deftly plotted murder mystery, and the characters who populate the novel are well drawn. It’s a shame the author died young, as the association between Dr. Archer and Detective Dart laid the foundation for future stories.

For those offended by racial stereotypes in books, despite the period in which they were written, The Conjure-Man Dies is full of dialogue that was presumably spoken in the streets of Harlem that may now seem offensive to modern readers. This should not detract from an otherwise enjoyable reading experience.

My thanks to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
… (mere)
luke66 | 15 andre anmeldelser | Oct 22, 2022 |



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