RARA-AVIS: Re: Another cop turned writer

From: JIM DOHERTY (jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 30 Oct 2008

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    Re your comment below:

    "Chester Himes is most famous for his police procedurals set in Harlem, which contain very little in the way of procedure. And as far as I recall Himes hardly ever set foot in Harlem. Terrific series, though. Especially recommended if you like a bit of black humour in your crime fiction."

    Great novels, but precisely because there is no real effort to make the police work at least SEEM authentic, I have a hard time thinking of them as police procedurals.

    In an interview, though, HImes once said that he based Coffin Ed and Digger on pair of black detectives, one a lieutenant and the other a sergeant, who worked together in the LAPD in the '20's and '30's. According to Himes, despite their friendship, one of the cops eventually shot and killed the other (over a woman? don't actually recall.) effectively ending the partnership.

    Al Collins once speculated that Himes's Harlem was actually based not on NYC's black ghetto but on Cleveland's Roaring Third Precinct, where Himes actually spent a lot more time.



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