Chester Himes

Born in Missouri in 1909, Himes began writing while in prison for jewel theft. He settled in Europe in the Fifties and died in Spain in 1984. Much of his prose confirms the reality of black life in America. The dialogue can take your breath away as it titters occasional on the edge of parody. Though the mood of his characters is often upbeat, their lifestyle is irredeemably low. The unique and hilarious police buddy heroes of several Himes books - Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed - are black, assigned almost exclusively to black crimes, and one of the best crime duos in print. When one remembers how crowded that field is, Himes’ achievement is all the greater. Titles include Lonely Crusade and A Rage in Harlem.

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