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If I Should Die


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About the Author

Grace F. Edwards was born and raised in Harlem and now lives in Brooklyn. She is the author of the novel In the Shadow of the Peacock and of three previous Mali Anderson mysteries, If I Should Die, A Toast Before Dying (a featured alternate selection of the Mystery Guild), and No Time to Die.


Mali Anderson interrupts a kidnapping while making her way through Harlem to collect her nephew from choir practice. She saves a young boy but discovers a murder victim‘the choir's tour director and a good friend. Ex-cop Mali pounces on the case, searching for clues, collaborating with almost-boyfriend detective Tad, and disregarding the warnings of friends when a second, related murder occurs. Edwards offers a rich, fluid style compounded of Harlem history, jazz-musician highlights, and human earth-tones. A striking accomplishment from the author of In the Shadow of the Peacock (1988).

A working-class neighborhood in Harlem is brought vividly to life in Edwards's hard-hitting second novel (In the Shadow of the Peacock). Mali Anderson, who was fired from the NYPD after slugging a fellow officer who had insulted her, lives in her childhood home with her father and orphaned nephew. On her way to pick up her nephew from a rehearsal with the world-famous Uptown Children's Chorus, Mali thwarts an attempt to kidnap a young chorus member; but she is too late to save her friend, the Chorus's director, who is fatally shot in the incident. Although she feels the investigation of both the murder and the attempted abduction is in good hands with two cops she trusts (one of whom she would like to get to know much better), Mali picks up some information on her own. Her involvement intensifies after her best friend, Deborah, a librarian whom Mali had asked to probe the background of the Chorus's director of development, is attacked in her apartment. Spurred by Deborah's nearly fatal attack and undeterred by anonymous phone calls she is receiving, Mali solicits help from her cop friends, after which the phone calls become more threatening, her father is attacked and her house is ransacked. Edwards's Harlem, with its beauty parlors and jazz clubs, family homes and burned-out crack houses, offers a vibrant, varied backdrop for this gritty tale and its sharp-edged, appealing heroine. (May)

YA‘After her sister dies, Mall assumes the responsibility of raising her 11-year-old, orphaned nephew, Alvin. Protective of him, the woman and her Great Dane walk to Harlem's renowned Uptown Children's Chorus to meet the boy after his choral practice, only to hear a child screaming. Running to the rescue, Mall grabs the screaming child from a car but can do nothing to save the man lying in the street with a bullet hole in his forehead. As a former police officer, Mall puts her detecting skills to use to find the murderer of Alvin's chorus director. The depressingly blah, sepia-toned book jacket detracts from the fine mystery inside. Mall is a strong, likable character who combines common sense with humor; her African-American heritage might appeal to mystery readers who may not have identified with the heroines created by Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton.‘Pam Spencer, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

"This girlfriend really cooks!"
--Mystery Lovers Bookshop News

"Excellent...Edwards expertly creates characters who leap to instant, long-remembered life."
--Chicago Tribune Book Review

"Grace is a gifted writer who has mastered her craft. This is the best crime fiction about Harlem since Chester Himes."
--Eleanor Taylor Bland

"A gorgeous, sassy heroine and a plot that doesn't quit...V.I. Warshawski look out!"
--Woman's Own

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