The Conjure-Man Dies: A Harlem Mystery

The Conjure-Man Dies: A Harlem Mystery

3.82 (256 ratings by Goodreads)
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The first known mystery novel written by an African-American, originally published in 1932.

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 (1932) 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 complex and gripping plot, vividly drawn characters and unique cultural elements, Fisher's witty novel is a genuine crime classic from one of the most exciting eras in the history of black fiction.

THIS DETECTIVE STORY CLUB CLASSIC includes an archival introduction by New York crime writer Stanley Ellin, plus 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 126 x 190 x 28mm | 280g
  • Collins Crime Club
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0008216452
  • 9780008216450
  • 481,678

Review quote

`A detective story of the first class, written with adroitness, humor, and a clever plot.' Boston Transcript

`With a black detective to solve the crime and with just enough humor on the side, the author gives us a well-constructed thriller of a little known side of Harlem life.' Rumana McManis

`...a puzzling mystery yarn which is at the same time a lively picture of Harlem...' The New York Times

`Captures the historically induced unique qualities of black people.' Oliver Henry, The Harlem Renaissance
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About Rudolph Fisher

A distinguished physician and researcher, Rudolph Fisher published stories in many leading publications, wrote many critical reviews and was a frequent contributor to the Herald Tribune's Books. The Conjure-Man Dies was his final novel before his untimely death in 1934.
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Rating details

256 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 24% (61)
4 41% (106)
3 29% (74)
2 5% (14)
1 0% (1)
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