Nubian Circle Book Club

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Harlem Redux Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

Harlem Redux is a murder mystery/suspense set in the 1920's Harlem in the midst of the glorious Renaissance that shares the same name.  The novel opens with David McKay, a young, affluent attorney, who returns home from a four-year absence after discovering his sister, Lillian, has committed suicide.  David immediately suspects foul play; as his sister was not the type of woman who would take her life, so thus a mystery ensues.  He suspects Lillians new husband, fellow attorney, Jameson Sweet, who has gained a fortune since her death.  As David retraces events that lead to his sisters death, we discover that he risks exposure of an unspeakable, burdening secret of his own, a secret that would destroy him and his family if discovered.

Persia Walker is such a wonderful storyteller that the reader is instantly swept into Harlem world and all its glory.  As the reader follows David on his quest for the truth, we meet a colorful cast of characters:  a West Indian numbers runner, an atrocious speakeasy owner, the infamous Nella Larson, and others.  The novel is one of historical fiction and is evident in Walker's incorporation of anecdotes from the popular personalities of the day:  Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Dubois, etc.  She represents all social classes of Harlem from the elite residents of Strivers Row to the impoverished brownstones along 125th Street.  More importantly, Walker expertly blends several pointed social issues of the day into the story that adds realism to the plot.

Harlem Redux is a page-turner that is filled with many twists and turns; clues are sprinkled throughout the chaptersit is a mystery that will keep you guessing until the end of the story.  I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from the novel.  It is a definite keeper and one of my best and favorite reads of 2002!

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Harlem Redux is 4.8 out of 5 stars.  We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review.  Please e-mail us at this address: