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Black Orchid Blues


Front Page meets Harlem Nights: a riveting and racy historical mystery set in 1920s Harlem.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“Walker’s exuberant third Harlem Renaissance mystery [is a] dark, sexy novel.”
Publishers Weekly

“[T]he tale is strengthened by plenty of period detail and a fine feel for both the gay underworld of Harlem in the 1920s and the sociopsychological dynamics of her characters. Best of all, [protagonist] Lanie has the makings of a strong series heroine. Walter Mosley fans, in particular, should look for more from this promising crime writer.”

“Put a Bessie Smith platter on the Victrola, and go with the flow on this mystery/romance/history mix.”
Library Journal

“Persia Walker has it all, great dialogue, terrific characters and a marvelous historical backdrop, skillfully crafted, to go with a slick, smart plot.”
The Globe and Mail

“A vibrant look at the thriving artistic and cultural explosion that was Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s . . . It adds up to an engrossing mystery with journalist Lanie Price showing her mettle as both sleuth and reporter as well as a tour guide to an entrancing era.”
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Black Orchid Blues works as a study of class and race, plus the debilitating effects of grief, the question of identity and the far-reaching impact of family secrets . . . Walker has a crystal clear eye for what motivates people as she explores disparity and desperation. ”
Florida Sun-Sentinel

“The best kind of historical mystery: great history, great mystery, all wrapped up in a voice so authentic you feel it has come out of the past to whisper in your ear.”
—Lee Child, author of Worth Dying For

“A remarkable achievement; imagine the richly provocative atmosphere of Walter Mosley or James Ellroy’s best period work, and a savvy, truly likable heroine, and you have Black Orchid Blues. Persia Walker is a rising superstar in the mystery genre.”
—Jason Starr, international best-selling author of The Pack

Black Orchid Blues is that rare mystery novel: both a smart and sophisticated take on the Harlem Renaissance and an unblinking exploration into its sometimes violent and often tragic underbelly. Walker hits all the right notes in this dark blues riff.”
—Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Innocent Monster

“Persia Walker is a wonderful writer. In Black Orchid Blues, she blends taut prose, memorable characters, and a strong creation of setting to craft a terrific historical mystery. I want to hear more from Walker and her winning lead, Lanie Price.”
—Alafair Burke, author of 212

Black Orchid Blues is a terrific read. Persia Walker has written a smart and soulful historical mystery brimming with memorable characters and plot twists. Readers will find her book a journey back in time they won’t want to end.”
—Gar Anthony Haywood, author of Cemetery Road


Lanie Price, a 1920s Harlem society columnist, witnesses the brutal nightclub kidnapping of the “Black Orchid,” a sultry, seductive singer with a mysterious past. When hours pass without a word from the kidnapper, puzzlement grows as to his motive. After a gruesome package arrives at Price’s doorstep, the questions change. Just what does the kidnapper want—and how many people is he willing to kill to get it?

Evil hides behind the genteel faades of affluent Strivers’ Row and stalks the ballroom of one of Harlem’s most famous gay parties. In a complex plot that keeps the reader tied to the page, Black Orchid Blues explores the depths of human depravity and the desperation of its victims.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Published: 3/22/11
  • IBSN: 9781936070909
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750199


PERSIA WALKER is the author of the 1920s Jazz Age novels Harlem Redux, which the Boston Globe called “a full, vibrant portrait of that storied era when Harlem’s pulse was the rhythm of black America,” Darkness and the Devil Behind Me, and Black Orchid Blues. Her short story “Such A Lucky, Pretty Girl” appears in the anthology The Blue Religion. A native New Yorker fluent in German, she is a former news writer for the Associated Press.

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