Promoted as the first African-American detective novel, Conjure-Man is a trip back in time to 1930s Harlem. We begin with the mysterious murder of Frombo, an African transplant, a brilliant philosopher and conjure-man, offering wisdom and hexes to the denizens of Harlem. My favorite parts of this twisting and turning tale are the dialogue which dances off the page with the vernacular of the era and the cast of characters stuck in Frombo’s waiting room during the investigation.— Celeste
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"This trailblazing work of fiction is notable for its depiction of Harlem's African American society and culture in the 1930s" -Bookpage
When the body of N'Gana Frimbo, the African conjure-man, is discovered in his consultation room, Perry Dart, one of Harlem's ten Black police detectives, is called in to investigate. Together with Dr Archer, a physician from across the street, Dart is determined to solve the baffling mystery, helped and hindered by Bubber Brown and Jinx Jenkins, local boys keen to clear themselves of suspicion of murder and undertake their own investigations.
The Conjure-Man Dies was the very first detective novel written by an African-American. A distinguished doctor and accomplished musician and dramatist, Rudolph Fisher was one of the principal writers of the Harlem Renaissance, but died in 1934 aged only 37. With a gripping plot and vividly drawn characters, Fisher's witty novel is a remarkable time capsule of one of the most exciting eras in the history of Black fiction.
This crime classic is introduced by New York crime writer Stanley Ellin, and includes Rudolph Fisher's last published story, 'John Archer's Nose', in which Perry Dart and Dr Archer return to solve the case of a young man murdered in his own bed.