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Chester Himes and Early African-

American Detective Novelists

"Chester Himes'
(1909-1984) role in hard-boiled fiction has its roots far outside the
typical pulp and dime novel origins. His early life and works were
similar to those of African-Americans Richard Wright and James Baldwin,
and like them he exiled himself to Paris. It was there, in desperate
need, that he began writing his "Harlem Domestic" series about
Detectives "Coffin" Ed Jones and "Grave Digger" Johnson, the first
black detectives to reach a wide audience. Many critics feel that these
ten novels, devoid of the didactic preaching in his earlier, serious
works, achieve Himes' aim more effectively. They are certainly his best
known novels."

The only Chester HImes novel I didn't like very much was the last one in the "Harlem Domestic" series. Not just because I didn't think it was as good as the others, but I hate it when good things come to an end.