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By the 1930s, the Harlem Renaissance had transformed its namesake neighborhood in New York City into a land of Black literary excellence. One such writer was Rudolph Fisher, whose 1932 mystery is widely regarded as the first-known detective novel written by a Black American author and has since been immortalized as a crime classic. The witty whodunit, which comprises only Black characters, follows Perry Dart—one of 10 Black police detectives in Prohibition-era Harlem—as he investigates the death of N’Gana Frimbo, the so-called “African conjure-man,” a reclusive individual with the ability to tell fortunes. Frimbo is found dead by a client one evening, and Dr. Archer, a local physician, is called to the scene, along with the police. Dart finds himself teaming up with Archer, as well as locals Bubber Brown and Jinx Jenkins, who want to clear themselves as murder suspects. Fisher only published two novels before dying of intestinal cancer in 1934 at just 37 years old, but his legacy has lasted. The Conjure-Man Dies was reprinted by Harper Collins in 2021, which speaks to the influence Fisher still holds decades after his death. —Armani Syed

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