Cotton Comes to Harlem by Chester Himes / 224-page paperback published in 2023 in the Penguin Modern Classics Crime & Espionage Series
'The new crime and espionage series from Penguin Classics makes for a mouth-watering prospect' Daily Telegraph
A con-man is swindling the poor folk of Harlem out of their life savings - and now all hell's broken loose.
The 'Reverend' Deke O'Malley has just made $87,000 by duping his followers, only for white gunmen to hijack the rally and escape with the cash hidden inside a bale of cotton. Now ace detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson must get the good people of Harlem their money back by any means necessary, in a raucous, breakneck adventure involving double-crosses, exotic dancers, a racist colonel and a whole pile of bodies...
"The greatest find in American crime fiction since Raymond Chandler." ― Sunday Times
"A bawdy, brazen rollercoaster of a novel . . . the wildest." ― New York Times Book Review
Chester Himes was born in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1909 and grew up in Cleveland. Aged 19 he was arrested for armed robbery and sentenced to 25 years in jail. In jail he began to write short stories, some of which were published in Esquire magazine. Upon release he took a variety of jobs, from working in a California shipyard to journalism to script-writing, while continuing to write fiction. He later moved to Paris where he was commissioned to write the first of his Harlem detective novels, A Rage in Harlem, which won the 1957 Grand Prix du Roman Policier. In 1969 Himes moved to Spain, where he died in 1984.