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Evergreen (Willie Black Mysteries) (Willie Black Mystery) Hardcover – 20 June 2019

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 ratings

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Product details

  • Hardcover : 254 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1579625738
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1579625733
  • Product Dimensions : 14.22 x 2.29 x 22.1 cm
  • Publisher : The Permanent Press (20 June 2019)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 4 ratings

Product description

Review

In Owen's low-key eighth Willie Black mystery (after Scuffletown), a dying relative unexpectedly asks Willie, a Richmond, Va., crime reporter, to take over as caretaker of his father's grave in Evergreen, the city's historic African-American cemetery. As a child of mixed-race parents prohibited from marrying by Virginia racial laws, Willie knows virtually nothing about his father, Artie Lee, other than that he died in an auto accident in 1961, when Willie was an infant. Prompted by curiosity to look up the details of the accident, he soon faces some puzzling questions: Why are his elderly mother and Artie's surviving friends reluctant to talk about what happened? And why does the police chief direct his attention to a deadly explosion that took place at a Ku Klux Klan rally the year before the accident? Willie's plunge into the city's racially turbulent past generates little suspense, and only toward the end do the strands come together for an emotionally satisfying conclusion. Willie, meanwhile, remains the same witty and humane character as ever. Readers will hope he has a long run. --Publishers Weekly

When Willie Black was 15 months old, his father, Artie Lee, was killed in an apparent automobile accident. That's all Willie police reporter for a Richmond, Virgina, newspaper knows about his dad. He s never been curious about the man. That changes when Willie's aunt on his father's side summons him to her deathbed. She's been tending Artie's grave in Evergreen, an abandoned cemetery, and now it s up to Willie to inherit the chore. Readers of Howard Owen's underappreciated Willie Black novels already know that Willie's father was black, that his mother was white, and that they weren't allowed to marry in 1960s Virginia. But in Evergreen, the eighth book in the series, they'll grow as curious as Willie about what really put Artie in his grave. Finding out is no easy task. Willie's mother won't say and urges Willie to drop it. Artie's old pals reminisce about his saxophone playing but clam up about his death. The police chief says there were rumors that the car crash was no accident but has no details. Old newspaper files are no help. The death of a black man didn't merit a news story in 1961 Virginia. Patiently, Willie squeezes a few minor details from townsfolk old enough to remember Artie. Each time he gets a scrap of information, he circles back, telling the witnesses what he knows and teasing out a bit more. He does this so skillfully that it is a pleasure to watch him work. Eventually, he learns that Artie's death was connected to a Ku Klux Klan rally, a car bombing and a series of betrayals by friends and relatives who were threatened by racist police officers unless they talked. The result is a conclusion that is both wrenching and satisfying. Readers seeking the thrills of most popular crime fiction won't find it here. Instead, they will find a textured, emotionally charged tale about coming to terms with growing up biracial in America told in the precise language of a writer who honed his craft during 44 years in the newspaper business. --Associated Press

About the Author

This is Howard Owen's 18th novel and the eighth in the Willie Black mystery series. Owen, a longtime newspaperman, worked at everything from reporter to sports editor to editorial pages editor. He has been writing fiction since 1989. He and his wife, Karen, live in Richmond. Among his earlier novels are the best-selling Littlejohn and the Willie Black mystery, Oregon Hill, which won the Dashiell Hammett prize for best crime literature in the United States and Canada.