Murder and mystery abound as Orson Welles directs an all-Negro production of Macbeth in 1936 Harlem. A Sassafras Winters/Chinaman mystery.
Harlem, 1936. Orson Welles is a 20-year-old prodigy directing an all-Negro Macbeth for the WPA in Harlem. But Welles has a problem. His theatre, the Lafayette, is being picketed by angry Harlemites, wrongly convinced by the local Communist Party that he is producing minstrel Shakespeare. So angry, in fact, that Welles is receiving 10 death threats a day. And tensions only increase after one of Welles' actors, Ben Kanter, is arrested for murdering a white socialite seen stepping out with Kanter's girlfriend. Kanter swears he is innocent, but can't prove it. Welles needs protection until opening night, when the world will see he is actually creating theatrical history. Enter Sassafras Winters and Chinaman, the mystery-adventure genre's newest detective heroes.
Winters, a retired Chicago Cubs pitcher, is struggling to launch a new career as a private detective. He is ably (if not always happily) accompanied by Chinaman, his enigmatic valet, possessor of a trunk-load of Ph.D.s and a knack for being at the right place at the right time.
Being hired by the WPA could be Winters' big break...if he can exonerate Kanter and keep Welles alive until opening night. And that isn't going to be easy.