5 Mysteries with African-American Protagonists to Read During Black History Month

With the majority of works written during the golden age ignoring African-Americans at best or denigrating them at worst- here are five books written to celebrate African-American culture during a turbulent time in American history.

Harlem Sunset by Nekesa Afia (A Harlem Renaissance Mystery, 2)

It’s 1927, and Louise Llyod has the perfect job as the manager of the Dove nightclub, but when Louise’s girlfriend, Rosa Maria, is covered in blood next to the body of Nora Davies, it’s up to Louise to clear her name. When Rosa Maria and Louise Lloyd return from police questioning to find their apartment sacked and the word “guilty” scrawled on the wall, they know that Nora’s killer will stop at nothing to frame Rosa Maria for the murder so they can be free. 

Lyrics of a Blackbird by Persia Walker

In this shadowy noir book, join David Mckay as he returns to Harlem after receiving the shocking news that his sister, Lillian, committed suicide. His arrival in Harlem pulls back the curtain on Lillian’s secretive life. David never knew his sister was married and doesn’t trust her husband, who wants nothing more than to get Lillian’s estate. As he investigates further into his sister’s death, she realizes betrayal lies close. And it’s deadly

Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting by Robert Skinner (Wesley Farrell Novels, 1)

Gambler and bon vivant Wesley Farrell is just trying to survive in 1930s New Orleans, Louisiana. In this Chandleresque hardboiled crime story, Wesley Farrell is mourning the loss of his love in a violent city. When a prominent black businessman is murdered, the community is on edge; when a second black businessman disappears, the community descends into chaos. As mobsters move in and begin taking over businesses, a club owner begs for Wesley Farrell’s help. When he agrees, he’s thrown into the deadly world of gangsters who kill anyone in their way.

Rutherford Jones in Trouble Times Three by Robert Ricci

It’s 1937, and Rutherford Jones is running Ford Jones Detective Agency out of a tiny second-story room in Oakland, California. When Rutherford Jones hires his drunken white friend Jimmy McGee to pose as the head of the agency so wealthy white clients will use his services, all sorts of trouble ensues. Follow Rutherford Jones and Jimmy McGee into gold mines, the clutches of a pulp avenger, and all around Chinatown to serve justice. 

Double the Lies (An Annalee Spain Mystery) by Patricia Raybon

The second book in Patricia Raybon’s thrilling Annalee Spain series will be published on February 7, 2023. In this new high-octane book, join Annalee in the Denver public library. When she notices a young woman crying, she offers her lace handkerchief. Later her handkerchief is found on the body of a dead man, and Annalee is the prime suspect. In the Klan-run city of Colorado, it’s hazardous for a young African-American woman to be suspected of a crime. Annalee must find the actual killer before she’s framed for murder.

If you’d like to find even more mysteries written by African-American authors, please read this post.


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