Wednesday, March 23, 2011


By Chester Himes

Chester Himes’ Harlem is always full of dreamers, but where there are dreamers there are those who prey on dreams.

Sister Alberta has announced her dreams of money in the temple of Sweet Prophet Brown. There’s reason to believe that her dreams may be reality. Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed are soon investigating the theft of the contents of a ghetto apartment and sundry acts of violence related to same.

As in many Himes’ novels, the detectives are secondary to the assorted street characters that populate the story. There is Sugar Stonewall, street-smart hustler, Dummy, the deaf-mute pimp, and Rufus, the guy who knows how to live off a woman who works as a maid for white people among others. Unraveling the mystery is entertaining enough. Following the characters from one ludicrously funny encounter to the next makes Himes’ writing a true treat. 

-Dave Hardy

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