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Publisher's Summary

Julia Kydd returns in a new mystery set in the beguiling world of the Harlem Renaissance, where reckless revelry leads to devastating crimes.

When stylish young bibliophile Julia Kydd returns to 1920s New York, she’s determined to launch her own private press. Julia’s aspirations take her into the heart of the Harlem Renaissance, a literary movement unlike any she’s known - where notions of race, sexuality, and power are slippery, and identities can be deceptively fluid.

At a risqué soiree, Julia befriends singer Eva Pruitt, whose new book is rumored to reveal lurid details about the Harlem nightlife. But Leonard Timson, a local nightclub owner, is furious when he suspects he’s the inspiration for a violent character in the book. By morning, Timson is dead, and both Eva and her manuscript are missing.

Julia finds herself immersed in a case as troubling as Jazz Age race relations. More questions than answers surface about Eva’s mysterious world, and powerful interests conspire to protect dangerous secrets. Still, no man can stand between Julia and the truth: appalled by violent injustice, she must use her wit and guile to find the killer.

©2020 Margaret L. Benton. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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  • Raven33
  • 05-08-20

if you like white fragility then this is your book

If you are interested in a historical mystery then take a pass. The author simply dressed a 2020 woke heroine up as a flapper; no effort to create a representative of that time and society. Maybe there was eventually a good plot but I gave up after a few chapters of polemics. Disappointed.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amy
  • 08-06-20

Excellent!

Another excellent mystery! I don't usually read mysteries, but I can't wait for a third book!

2 people found this helpful

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  • BikeVON
  • 23-07-20

Good mystery

“Something daring and defiant was happening at the party. All things boring and dreary have been swept away”. These first lines of the story illustrate the tone of the story. It was the Harlem Renaissance, a social and artistic explosion.
Julia Kydd, a publisher of small eclectic literature, became swept up in the golden age in African American culture. Marlowe Benn, the author, uses her writing to highlight social issues in the 20th century. In her first novel it was women’s rights, in this novel, it is the place of Blacks in the world of literature.

Julia finds that she is naïve of Black literature, unaware of Harlem’s social scene and ignorant of the cast system within the Black culture. Yet, when a friend is accused of murder, she rushes in to prove her innocence. Motivation for her actions were difficult to fathom. She becomes soul mates with a woman she meets once. Why? Because the woman is beautiful and has a nice speaking voice.

Julia’s character grows in this story. She discovers her power as an affluent independent white woman.
Julia is still constrained by the norms of the 20th century that affect women. She chides Philip, her half-brother, and the police when they attempt to push her off to the side. She sees the brutality which is inflicted upon an innocent person because they are black and embraces her power to make a difference.

When attempting to investigate the murder she must work with Philip and use her feminine wiles on men she just recently met. She is plunged into the darkness and inequality of the life of being Black. She learns that even when a Black person is expressing themselves in literature or dance, they are still shackled with expectations of white people.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-07-20

Murder mystery!

Slow building historical murder mystery! Dangerous secrets in a jazz age. Julia Kidd had another murder to solve........a witty and clever heroine. Loved narrator Sarah Zimmerman's voice👌

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elaine S. Apthorp
  • 26-06-20

Very well-crafted and woke historical mystery

Took a chance on two Marlowe Benn mysteries Amazon offered for free in Unlimited and am astonished at how very strong they both are. Benn has done much more than the requisite homework to render the 1920s Harlem Cotton-Club scene from the 3rd-person-intimate POV of Julia Kydd: White, raised in enormous economic privilege, but ethical, compassionate, and open to the evidence of her abysmal ignorance that experience sends cascading into her consciousness. Crucially she does more than learn; she acts in the light of that discovery. The author, clearly a passionate and professionally informed bibliophile, brings so much more to bear on these mysteries than that expertise; Benn is a first-rate prose stylist, a skilled designer of solidly suspenseful as well as emotionally engaging and thoughtful narrative, and a writer of conscience, who weaves social commentary into genre fiction with determined grace. I recommend this novel with many exclamation points.

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  • christina n
  • 18-10-20

A Hit IN MY BOOK JOURNEYS

wow a twist! great black history time!
loved this period piece!
great describing period dresses