A Death in Harlem & Gone Missing in Harlem (Weldon Haynie Thomas series)
In A Death in Harlem, famed scholar Karla FC Holloway weaves a mystery in the bon vivant world of the Harlem Renaissance. Taking as her point of departure the tantalizingly ambiguous “death by misadventure” at the climax of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Holloway accompanies readers to the sunlit boulevards and shaded sidestreets of Jazz Age New York. A murder there will test the mettle, resourcefulness, and intuition of Harlem’s first “colored” policeman, Weldon Haynie Thomas.
In the Gone Missing in Harlem sequel, the Mosby family migrates from the loblolly-scented Carolinas north to the promise of Harlem. After Daddy Iredell dies and son Percy is sent back to the South to keep him out of trouble, DeLilah and daughter Selma meet difficulties with resolve. Selma’s baby, Chloe, is born against the backdrop of the kidnapping and murder of the infant son of the nation’s dashing young aviator, Charles Lindbergh. Then Chloe goes missing—but her disappearance does not draw the same attention. Weldon Haynie Thomas, the city’s first Black policeman, takes the case.
5 Questions to Consider While Reading
1. What are the cues that seem important to solving the mystery?
2. For Gone Missing in Harlem - Consider the many relationships between mothers and children. What do you think is most important about these relationships?
3. For A Death in Harlem: Why do you think the author gave only slight attention to the "other" death in Harlem that happened on the night of Olivia's death?
4. What impression do you have of Weldon Thomas? Why is his character important?
5. How do the lives of the Black bourgeoisie figure into contemporary Black "society" and how important are they to the novel's focus?
Karla FC Holloway is James B. Duke Professor Emerita of English, African & African American Studies, Professor of Law and former Dean of the Humanities & Social Sciences. Her research and teaching focused on Black cultural studies, bioethics, and law. She has authored over 50 essays and 8 books including Passed On: African American Mourning Stories and BookMarks: Reading in Black & White. Her eclectic tweets can be found @ProfHolloway. In 2017 she turned her full attention to writing the kind of novels her book club of 30+ years would enjoy. Her mantra is “readers also want to have fun.” Gone Missing in Harlem '21, was awarded a Publisher’s Weekly Starred review and joined her first novel, A Death in Harlem, published on her 70th birthday. This spring she joined the Arrow Rock Writers & Artists Residency at Persimmon Creek, MO to work on a “very-near-to-present-day" novel where concerns about contemporary politics move from fiction to fact in a group of elderly DC book club members.