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The Black Detective

blackdetectivelogo

This list includes mystery fiction that features some kind of African-American sleuth without regard to time period, sex or sexual orientation, or their career status as a professional or amateur sleuth, etc. Please note — this is a booklist featuring sleuths who are African-American. Not all of the writers are necessarily of African-American heritage themselves, although for those that are, you’ll find a # after their name! 

All books in this list which are owned by Lincoln City Libraries are hotlinked to their entries in our library catalog, so that you may check on their current availability. Some titles not owned by the libraries are included in this list due to their classic nature, or their position as part of a series. If you see a title on this list that is not hotlinked to our collection, please consider ordering it through our Interlibrary Loan department.


Sterling Anthony
Lt. Mary Cunningham
Cookie Cutter (1999)

Nikki Baker #
Virginia Kelly
— In the Game (1991)
— The Lavender House Murder (1992)
— Long Goodbyes (1993)
— The Ultimate Exit Strategy (1996)

John Dudley Ball
Virgil Tibbs
In the Heat of the Night (1965)
— The Cool Cottontail (1966)
— Johnny Get Your Gun (1969)
— Five Pieces of Jade (1972)
— The Eyes of Buddha (1976)
— The Killing in the Market (1978)
— Then Came Violence (1980)
— Singapore (1986)

George Baxt
Pharoah Love
— A Queer Kind of Death (1966)
— Swing Low, Sweet Harriet (1967)
— Topsy and Evil (1968)
— A Queer Kind of Love (1979)
— A Queer Kind of Umbrella (1995)

Eleanor Taylor Bland #
Marti “Big Mac” MacAlister
— Dead Time (1992)
— Slow Burn (1993)
— Gone Quiet (1994)
— Done Wrong (1995)
— Keep Still (1996)
— See No Evil (1998)
— Tell No Tales (1999)
— Scream in Silence (2000)
— Whispers in the Dark (2001)
— Windy City Dying (2002)
Fatal Remains (2003)
— A Cold and Silent Dying (2004)
— A Dark and Deadly Deception (2005)

Jay Brandon
Rules of Evidence (1992)

Charlotte Carter #
The Nanette Hayes series
Rhode Island Red (1997)
Coq au Vin (1999)
Drumsticks (2000)
Rooster’s Riff (2001)
The Cook County series
Jackson Park (2003)
Trip Wire (2005)

Christopher Chambers
The Angela Bivins Thrillers
Sympathy for the Devil (2001)
A Prayer for Deliverance (2003)
stand-alones
Scavenger (2020)

S.A. Cosby #
My Darkest Prayer (2019)
Blacktop Wasteland (2020)
Razorblade Tears (2021)

Christopher Darden and Dick Lochte
Trials of Nikki Hill (1999)
L.A. Justice (2001)
The Last Defense (2002)
Lawless (2004)

Nora Deloach #
The “Mama” series
— Mama Solves a Murder (1994)
— Mama Traps a Killer (1995)
— Mama Saves a Victim (1997)
— Mama Stands Accused (1997)
— Mama Stalks the Past (1997)
Mama Rocks the Empty Cradle (1998)
— Mama Pursues Murderous Shadows (2000)
— Mama Cracks a Mask of Innocence (2001)

Grace Edwards #
The Viaduct (2004)
Mali Anderson
If I Should Die (1997)
— A Toast Before Dying (1998)
— No Time to Die (1999)
— Do or Die (2000)

Louis Edwards
Aimee DuBois
— N: A Romantic Mystery (1997)

Ardella Garland (a.k.a. Yolanda Joe) #
Georgia Barnett
Details at Ten (2000)
Hit Time (2002)
Video Cowboys (2005)

Robert O. Greer #
Limited Time (2000)
C.J. Floyd
— The Devil’s Hatband (1996)
— The Devil’s Red Nickel (1997)
— The Devil’s Backbone (1998)
Resurrecting Langston Blue (2005)
The Fourth Perspective (2006)
The Mongoose Deception (2007)
Blackbird, Farewell (2008)
First of State (2010)
stand-alones
Heat Shock (2003)
Spoon (2009)
Astride a Pink Horse (2012)

Barbara Hambly
Emancipator’s Wife (2005) (not a Benjamin January novel!)
Benjamin January
A Free Man of Color (1997)
Fever Season (1998)
Graveyard Dust (1999)
Sold Down the River (2000)
Die Upon a Kiss (2001)
Wet Grave (2002)
Days of the Dead (2003)
Dead Water (2004)
Dead and Buried (2010)
The Shirt on His Back (2011)
Ran Away (2011)
Good Man Friday (2013)
Crimson Angel (2014)
Drinking Gourd (2016)
Murder in July (2017)
Cold Bayou (2018)
Lady of Perdition (2019)
House of the Patriarch (2020)

Gary Hardwick #
Danny Cavanaugh Mystery Series
Supreme Justice (1990)
Color of Justice (2000)
— Citycide (2012)
— Grind City (2016)
Luther Green thriller series
— The Executioner’s Game (2005)
— The American Game (2015)
Stand-Alones
Cold Medina (1996)
Double Dead (1997)
Dark Town Redemption (2010)

Chester Himes #
Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson
— For Love of Imabelle (a.k.a. A Rage in Harlem) (1957)
— The Real Cool Killers (1959)
— The Crazy Kill (1959)
The Big Gold Dream (1960)
All Shot Up (1960)
Cotton Comes to Harlem (1965)
— The Heat’s On (a.k.a. Come Back, Charleston Blue) (1966)
— Blind Man With a Pistol (a.k.a. Hot Day Hot Night) (1969)

Hugh Holton #
Larry Cole
— Presumed Dead (1994)
— Windy City (1995)
— Chicago Blues (1996)
— Violent Crimes (1997)
— Red Lightning (1998)
Left Hand of God (1999)
— Time of the Assassins (2000)
The Devil’s Shadow (2001)
— Criminal Element (2002)
— The Thin Black Line (2005)

Norman Kelley #
Nina Halligan
— Big Mango (2000)
— The Black Heat (2001)
— A Phat Death (2003)

Jake Lamar #
The Last Integrationist (1996)
Close to the Bone (1999)
If 6 Were 9 (2001)
Rendezvous Eighteenth (2003)
Ghosts of Saint-Michel (2006)

Glenville Lovell #
Blades Overstreet
— Too Beautiful to Die (2003)
— Love and Death in Brooklyn (2004)
— The Darkest Street (2016)

Ann McMillan
Judah Daniel
— Dead March (1998)
— Angel Trumpet (1999)
— Civil Blood (2001)
— Chickahominy Fever (2004)
— Castle Thunder (2010)

Penny Mickelbury #
Carol Ann Gibson
— One Must Wait (1998)
— Where to Choose (1999)
— The Step Between (2000)
— Paradise Interrupted (2001)

Walter Mosley #
Easy Rawlins
Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)
A Red Death (1991)
White Butterfly (1992)
Black Betty (1994)
A Little Yellow Dog (1996)
Gone Fishin’ (1997)
Fearless Jones (2001)
Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002)
Fear Itself (2003)
Little Scarlet (2004)
Cinnamon Kiss (2005)
Blonde Faith (2008)
Little Green (2013)
Rose Gold (2014)
Charcoal Joe (2016)
Blood Grove (2021)
Socrates Fortlow
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1997)
Walkin’ the Dog (1999)
The Right Mistake (2008)
Fearless Jones and Paris Minton
Fearless Jones (2001)
Fear Itself (2003)
Fear of the Dark (2006)
Leonid McGill
The Long Fall (2009)
Known to Evil (2010)
When the Thrill is Gone (2011)
All I Did Was Shoot My Man (2012)
And Sometimes I Wonder About You (2015)
Trouble is What I Do (2020)

Barbara Neely #
Blanche White
Blanche on the Lam (1992)
Blanche Among the Talented Tenth (1994)
Blanche Cleans Up (1998)
Blanche Passes Go (2000)

P.J. Parrish
Louis Kincaid
Dark of the Moon (1999)
— Dead of Winter (2001)
— Paint it Black (2002)
— Thicker Than Water (2003)
— Island of Bones (2004)
— Killing Rain (2005)
— Unquiet Grave (2006)
— A Thousand Bones (2007)
— South of Hell (2008)
The Little Death (2009)
Heart of Ice (2013)
— Clawback (2013 novella)
The Damage Done (2018)

Gary Phillips #
Ivan Monk
Violent Spring (1994)
Perdition U.S.A. (1995)
Bad Night is Falling (1998)
Only the Wicked (2000)
— Monkology: The Stories (2004)
Martha Chainey
High Hand (2000)
Shooter’s Point (2001)
— The Perpetrators (2002)
The Essex Man (graphic novel series)
— 10 Seconds to Death (2013)

Mike Phillips #
Sam Dean
— Blood Rights (1989)
— The Late Candidate (1990)
— Point of Darkness (1994)
— An Image to Die For (1995)

Ishmael Reed #
Papa LaBas
— Mumbo Jumbo (1972)] — The Last Days of Louisiana Red (1974)

James Sallis
Lew Griffin
The Long-Legged Fly (1992)
Moth (1993)
Black Hornet (1994)
Eye of the Cricket (1997)
Bluebottle (1999)
Ghost of a Flea (2001)
* James Sallis wrote the biography Chester Himes: A Life (2000)

Robert Skinner
Wesley Farrell
— Skin Deep, Blood Red (1997)
— Cat-Eyed Trouble (1998)
— Daddy’s Gone a-Hunting (1999)
— Blood to Drink (2000)
— Pale Shadow (2001)
— The Righteous Cut (2002)

Ian Smith #
Sterling Bledsoe
— The Blackbird Papers (2004)
Ashe Cayne series
The Unspoken (2020)
— Wolf Point (2021)

Pamela Thomas-Graham #
Nikki Chase/Ivy League mysteries
— A Darker Shade of Crimson (1998)
— Blue Blood (1999)
— Orange Crushed (2004)

Ernest Tidyman
Shaft
Shaft (1970)
— Shaft Among the Jews (1972)
— Shaft’s Big Score (1972)
— Shaft Has a Ball (1973)
— Goodbye, Mr. Shaft (1973)
— Shaft’s Carnival of Killers (1974)
— Last Shaft (1975)

Nichelle D. Tramble Spellman #
Maceo Redfield series
The Dying Ground (2001) (as by Nichelle Tramble)
The Last King (2004) (as by Nichelle Tramble)

“Blair Underwood presents” #
Tennyson Hardwick (books written by the team of Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due)
Casanegra (2007)
In the Heat of the Night (2008)
— From Capetown With Love (2010)
— South by Southeast (2012)

Blair S. Walker
Daryl Billups
— Up Jumped the Devil (1997)
— Hidden in Plain View (1999)
— Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes (2002)

Valerie Wilson Wesley #
Tamara Hayle
When Death Comes Stealing (1994)
— Devil’s Gonna Get Him (1995)
— Where Evil Sleeps (1996)
— No Hiding Place (1997)
— Easier to Kill (1998)
— The Devil Riding (2000)
— Dying in the Dark (2004)
Of Blood and Sorrow (2008)
Odessa Jones
— A Glimmer of Death (2021)

Paula L. Woods #
Spooks, Spies and Private Eyes: Black Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Fiction of the 20th Century (1995) (Paula L. Woods is the editor of this anthology)
Charlotte Justice
— Inner City Blues (1999)
— Stormy Weather (2001)
— Dirty Laundry (2003)
— Strange Bedfellows (2006)

Compiled August 2006 rs
Adapted and expanded for the Web August 2006 sdc / Last updated August 2021 sdc