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Shades of Black

Shades of Black

(2004)
Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors
An anthology of stories edited by

 
Publisher's Weekly
Talking about African-American mystery writers, editor Bland says, "In my opinion, the most significant contribution we have made, collectively, to mystery fiction is the development of the extended family; the permanence of spouses and significant others, most of whom don't die in the first three chapters or by the end of the novel; children who are complex, wanted, and loved; and even pets." And while some of the 22 stories in this excellent anthology are as hard as nails and as noir as a night in Thompsonville (such as Gary Phillips's "Beginner's Luck," which stars Chainey, his no-nonsense former Las Vegas stripper, and Walter Mosley's short, pungent "Bombardier"), most of them do have a strong sense of family. Bland's own "Murder on the Southwest Chief," written with her 15-year-old son, Anthony, has her suburban Chicago cop Marti MacAlister using her sons' journals to solve a crime. Frankie Y. Bailey's "Since You Went Away" is another corking railroad yarn, featuring Lizzie Stuart's grandfather, a Pullman porter, in a tale of jealousy and sexual repression in 1946. The feeling of extended family includes a tribute to the late Hugh Holton, a Chicago police captain and prolific mystery writer, by historian Lerone Bennett Jr., even though Holton's own entry, "The Werewolf File," is a dark and rather bloody tale. Some of the other contributors' names may be new to casual mystery readers, but part of the pleasure of this wide-ranging volume is welcoming them to the family. (Feb. 3) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-two well- and lesser-known African-American writers tackle the short form-with variable success. The big gun is Walter Mosley, whose "Bombadier" is a six-page short-short that presents a heavenly perspective on the pros and cons of using race as an excuse for a misspent life. Editor Bland, with an assist from her relative Anthony, offers up a train ride for series sleuth Marti MacAlister and her kids, "Murder on the Southwest Chief," that will make you want to take the bus. Gar Anthony Haywood pits a pair of married truckers against another, battling couple on the road in "Better Dead than Wed." With considerable panache, the late Hugh Holton's "The Werewolf File" rips the throats out of victims aboard the Viking Warrior on January 18th, the day the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is commemorated. And that about does it for the good stuff, unless you're partial to by-the-numbers p.i.'s (although Tracy P. Clark's Eve DeHaas has her wry moments in "For Services Rendered"), cops with attitude, WWI and WWII pathos, and kid detectives (a trio of 11-year-olds in Patricia E. Canterbury's "The Secret of the 369th Infantry Nurse"). Although Bland accurately notes that the African-American mystery has come a long way in the past ten years, this landmark collection may not dissuade cautious readers from waiting a little longer for an investment-grade anthology.

Genre: Mystery
 
Used availability for Eleanor Taylor Bland's Shades of Black


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Hardback Editions

February 2004 : USA Hardback
Title: Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors
Author(s): Eleanor Taylor Bland
ISBN: 0-425-19402-7 / 978-0-425-19402-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

January 2005 : USA Paperback
Title: Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors
Author(s): Eleanor Taylor Bland
ISBN: 0-425-20014-0 / 978-0-425-20014-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Berkley
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

January 2005 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
Title: Shades Of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors
Author(s): Eleanor Taylor Bland
Publisher: Berkley
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   



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