Including classic works by writers of the harlem renaissance and stories by contemporary bestsellers like Walter Mosley, this groundbreaking collection will please and surprise mystery fans and students of black fiction alike. "Spooks, Spies and Private Eyes" brings together for the first time a collection of the best mystery and crime fiction by black authors from around the world-much of it long out of print, generally unavailable, or not previously published.
For years, Charlie Chan's stereotypical sidekick Birmingham Brown, popularized by the 1930s movie series, was the only commonly seen image of the black detective. And yet, by 1932, Rudolph Fisher had already written "The Conjure-Man Dies," the first detective novel to feature a black protagonist. In this sequel work, John Archer, a suave Harlem physician, and his detective pal Perry Dart provided a unique twist on the Holmes/Watson team, and foreshadowed Chester Himes's memorable duo, Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, who dominated the literary black crime scene for about thirty years-from the 1950s to the 1980s. Ranging from Fisher and Himes to the influential nongenre writers Richard and Ann Petry; from the political thrillers of John A. Williams and Samuel Greenlee to the international perspective of Mike Phillips and Njarni Simon; from the earliest mystery story by an African-American (written in 1900) to modern mainstream authors including Walter Mosley, Barbara Neely, and Eleanor Taylor Bland, "Spooks, Spies, And Private Eyes" is an eclectic, rich, and inunensely entertaining compendium that is sure to delight a wide and various audience.