$87,000 is missing. Detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson want it back.
Harlem, 1965: Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are the most notorious Detectives in the Harlem precinct. Their methods are unorthodox, and some people think they're trigger happy, but ask any law-abiding citizen of Harlem and they'll sing their praises. So when the Reverend Deke O'Malleys Back to Africa movement collects $87,000 from poor black families - only to have it stolen from under their noses - Jones and Johnson get put on the case.
Read by Hugh Quarshie.
Chester Himes' fantastically atmospheric novel is not just a great thriller it reveals the lives of black people in a white city at a time, three years before the death of Martin Luther King, when under Alabama law killing a Negro did not constitute murder. It was filmed in 1970 and has become a cult classic.
Chester Himes was born in 1909, and grew up in a middle class home in Missouri. His first real experience of racism was when a white hospital refused to treat his brother who had damaged his eyes in a schoolboy prank. He went to Ohio state University but was expelled. In 1928 he was arrested and sentenced to 25 years hard labour for armed robbery. He started writing in prison and sold stories to magazines including Esquire. He was released in 1936, lived in Los Angeles for a time - the basis of his novel If He Hollers Let Him Go, and moved to Paris in the 1950s where his Harlem precinct novels were first published. His novel For Love of Imabelle became very successful film A Rage in Harlem.
Hugh Quarshie is a TV regular in Holby City playing Ric Griffin. He has extensive film, tv and radio credits.
Abridged and produced by Chris Wallis.
Made for BBC Radio 4 Extra by Autolycus Productions.
Harlem, 1965: $87,000 is missing. Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson want it back.
Made for 4 Extra. Harlem, 1965: $87,000 is missing. Detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson want it back. Read by Hugh Quarshie