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Lyrics of a Blackbird: A Harlem Renaissance Mystery Kindle Edition
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"As much a story of lies, deceit and murder as it is a commentary on race and class, Harlem Redux is filled with colorfulcharacters." --The Chicago Tribune
"Harlem Redux proves [Walker] more than capable of offering a penetrating dissection of the black upper crust." --The Washington Post
From the Author
- ASIN : B00507FTOU
- Publisher : Blood Vintage Press (May 9, 2011)
- Publication date : May 9, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 4607 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 477 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,032,667 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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McKay discovers that his deceased sister Lilian, a writer and intellectual, had married a man she barely knew and, oddly, never confided her change in civil status to him, her own brother. The husband, James Sweet, also an attorney, now has claim to the family estate. After questioning the family's longtime housekeeper, Annie Williams, as well as Mr. Sweet, and many of Lilian's friends, David is not able to accept that his little sister killed herself. He knew her too well, and does not believe that such an extreme act of self destruction was in her nature - no matter what the evidence revealed. He is sure foul play is involved.
As he investigates the events leading up to Lilian's death, including the sudden return of her glamorous twin sister Gem from Paris, McKay discovers a dark world of secrets, lies and betrayal by those he trusted most. He cannot throw stones, however, as he himself is carrying the burden of a secret life, the consequence of a terrible tragedy which occurred four years before.
Although this page-turner has flaws, I must admit that I was riveted by the storyline and the mysterious figure of Lilian McKay Sweet. Persia Walker's meticulous research, her attention to historic detail, the fascinating period and setting she documents, 1920's Harlem, are compelling reasons to read "Harlem Redux," in and of themselves. I live in New York City, and learned an amazing amount about uptown in my hometown from the book. Ms. Walker incorporates anecdotes from places and celebrities like, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Dubois, The Cotton Club, etc., and also adds commentary on important social issues of the day which enrich the plot considerably.
On the downside, I found the narrative to be extremely awkward at times, and very melodramatic. Although it suits the period, I occasionally felt I was reading the screenplay for "Perils of Pauline," the Hollywood silent film episodic serial. Apart from David, some of the characters seem stereotypical, especially Gem. Although the conclusion is startling, the novel's pace slows in the middle, but even though I was tempted to put the book down, I could not do so. I was hooked! I definitely think the author has talent and would certainly read more of her work.
David McKay, the prodigal son, returns home after a 4 year self imposed exile. His sister Lillian is dead and the authorities are convinced it is suicide. David knows better and suspects foul play. So much has happened in his absence, his other sister, Lillian's twin, Gem, has disappeared; Lillian was living a life she never disclosed to him in their clandestine correspondences , and old friends have potentially devastating secrets.
Harlem Redux has so may twists, turns and elaborate subplots it reminds you of an old Alfred Hitchcock thriller. It is like a house of cards; each secret you unravel brings you one step closer to solving the mystery and bringing down the house.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the historical look at Harlem in the early twenties and thirties. When reading time pieces or historical accounts of the early 1900's I am always amazed at how little people and their attitudes change. Technology gets bigger and maybe better, our lives become complicated and more stressful but when you get right down to it, people really do not change a whole lot, and Harlem Redux reminds us of this. The very same ideas and beliefs that shape so many of the characters in this novel and cause their unraveling are very prevalent today and are just as destructive. Our ideas about love, acceptance and tolerance govern us and in many ways direct the path our lives take.
I strongly recommend this one even if you are not a big fan of Mysteries.
Reviewed by Ruby
APOOO Book Club
This is a fabulous book written about a time none of us are able to recall. It's honest, heartfelt, insightful, simply wonderfully written! Having just taken a chance on reading this amazing effort I must say it's one of the most riveting stories I've read in years.
I was totally captivated, couldn't lay it down, read it in two nights. It would have been only one but these weary eyes were becoming painful. Still I read on. A surprise on every page. Masterful! If you don't read this don't bother reading anything else. It will only pale in comparison. Write on, Ms Walker! I'm tremendous grateful for allowing me and thousands of others to share your work.
Pershia. Walker takes this time and weaves a story of love and betrayal, mystery, hatred, and murder. As Annie says "Things are not the way they seem." Harlem Redux
As I said it's a good read.
The story is solidly told with fully developed & fascinating characters, the Harlem renaissance backdrop is thoroughly & colorfully described & there's even a bit of history thrown in so that I felt that I learned some interesting facts in an absorbing way. Additionally, there are several shocking plot twists that I didn't see coming (well, at least one I did but it was still fun to go along for the ride). Highly recommended!
Top reviews from other countries
The story itself is deeply intriguing and will keep you guessing right up until the last moment. The author has intertwined so many hidden secrets throughout the book; every character seems to have something to hide and the words of one of the characters that 'Ain't everything as it seems' rings true throughout the book.
One of the best parts about this mystery novel for me was that the story keeps making you think that you've worked out who the killer is, only to end up second guessing yourself a few chapters later. I think Persia Walker has done a masterful job of leaving clues throughout the book that keep you engaged and thinking what the answer is, but subtle enough to surprise you as each new discovery unfolds.
All in all, I found this book a joy to read and would eagerly read another entry featuring the character David McKay.