The University of Wisconsin Press

Popular Culture


Two Guns From Harlem
The Detective Fiction of Chester Himes
Robert E. Skinner

Popular Press

Among the many writers who lent their talents to the creation of hard-boiled detective fiction, few have approached it from a more original perspective than Chester Himes. A former criminal himself, Himes brought to the writing of detective fiction a personal perspective. Himes made his debut with the brilliant For Love of Imabelle, for which he was awarded the coveted Grand Prix de la Littérature Policière.

Two Guns from Harlem probes Himes's early life and career for the roots of this series and for its heroes, Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. Skinner discusses how Himes's experience as a black man, combined with his unique outlook on sociology, politics, violence, sex, and race relations, resulted not only in an unusual portrait of black America but also opened the way for the creation of the ethnic and female hard-boiled detectives who followed.

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Cover of book is orange with two illustrations of hands holding pistols.

LC: 89-060980 PS
198 pp.   6 x 9
ISBN-10: 0-87972-453-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-87972-453-5
Cloth $33.95 t
ISBN-10: 0-87972-454-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-87972-454-2
Paper $15.95 t

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Updated November 11, 2009

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