I’ve been searching for “new” classics to read during this new, uncertain time because a throwback to the past often helps put the present into perspective and makes the future seem more hopeful.
I searched for detective fiction from the “Golden Age” between WWI and WWII, my go-to era when I’m looking for works where wrongs are righted, justice is delivered, and order is restored (for the most part). In the process, I came across Rudolph Fisher, a member of the Harlem Renaissance literary movement and the author of the first African American detective novel, The Conjure-Man Dies. (The novel is still in print by University of Michigan Press). He only wrote three novels—in addition to short stories, essays, plays, and scholarly articles—in his short life. (He died of cancer at age 37). But his sole detective novel was described in the November 5, 1932 edition of The New York Age as “one of the most popular and ingenious detective stories of the season.”
Fisher (make that “Dr. Fisher”) was also a physician. He graduated from Howard University Medical School and did a fellowship at Columbia University before setting up a private radiology practice in New York. Thus, he seemed a fitting choice for #followfriday this week, as #NationalDoctorsDay was Monday, March 30.