The Queen City Detective Agency

Morrow. Aug. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780062963581. $30. M
Wright’s (American Pop; Play Pretty Blues) third novel is set in 1980s Meridian, MS, where biracial ex-cop Clementine Baldwin and white Vietnam vet Dixon Hicks are partners in the Queen City Detective Agency. They take cases that other detectives turn down, including the investigation into Turnip Coogan’s death in jail. Facing 20 to life for the murder of a real-estate developer, Coogan swore he was innocent. He claimed that the developer’s widow hired him to kill her husband but then called off the hit. When Coogan’s death is ruled a suicide, his grieving mother hires Clem to prove that her son was murdered. Soon the partners are tangled in a case that moves from the jail to trailer parks to mansions to the country club, all overlooked by the Dixie Mafia, a powerful group that is rumored to be descended from the KKK.
VERDICT While the historical mystery is slow-moving at times, it evokes the atmosphere and tension of the 1980s American South, emphasizing the rage and emotions of a woman of color who’s faced with the political clout of ruthless white power brokers.
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