A Toast Before Dying (Mali Anderson)

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9780553579536: A Toast Before Dying (Mali Anderson)
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Murder casts a shadow over the soul of Harlem....

When she's not studying for her master's or dropping in on her father's jazz gigs, ex-cop Mali Anderson checks out the scene at Harlem's smoky Half-Moon Bar.  She wasn't there for singer-bartender Thea Morris's birthday party, but someone else was--someone who shot Thea to death outside in the alley.  Was it her boyfriend, now sitting in jail on suspicion of murder? His sister insists he's innocent--and wants her friend Mali to clear his name.

Thea herself is a mystery: a lonely beauty in an apartment too deluxe for a woman living on tip money, with a gamut of lovers from an aspiring actor to an ambitious politician.  It will take all Mali's savvy--and sources from street-corner buzz to uptown cocktail chat--to unravel Thea's life and death.  And it will take her every survival instinct to catch a killer who will kill again to keep a deadly secret.

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Review:

In Grace F. Edwards's second mystery about the adventures of Mali Anderson, former New York City police officer, the sleuth investigates the murder of a popular and beautiful bartender named Thea at a Harlem watering hole. After Anderson's friend Kendrick is arrested for the murder, she sets out to clear his name and find the real culprit. It's hard for anyone to believe that Kendrick, a good natured young man, could have shot a woman in the face point blank. As Anderson unravels the mystery, Edwards provides her readers with a fascinating portrait of everyday life in Harlem. Anderson learns a great deal about the deceased woman's checkered past simply by listening to the gossip in two local beauty salons. Her other sources include the local bookie, Too Hot, and Flyin' Man, a wheelchair-bound former cat burglar whose two dogs propel him through the neighborhood at breakneck speed.

Anderson learns that Thea was a former beauty queen, an aspiring singer, a woman who never got very close to anyone but attracted many men. At the time of Thea's death, she was romantically involved with at least three men: Kendrick, the owner of the bar, and a prominent local politician. All three men are suspects. After a wealthy white woman hires Anderson to investigate Thea's past, the detective doesn't know what to think--but she does know she has to think fast, because people connected to the case are perishing right and left. In this book, Grace Edwards has managed to tell a pretty darn good story and capture the rhythm of life on the streets of Harlem.-- Jill Marquis

From the Publisher:

Praise for Grace F. Edwards's If I Should Die:

"[An] excellent first mystery."
--Chicago Tribune

"The best crime fiction about Harlem since Chester Himes."
--Eleanor Taylor Bland, author of Keep Still

"With style, and her wise and elegant sleuth, Grace Edwards captures the mood and bittersweet flavor of contemporary Harlem."
--Valerie Wilson Wesley, author of Where Evil Sleeps

"A gripping, raw, and suspenseful introduction to a resourceful heroine and the world she lives in."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"You don't want to miss this lush and riveting mystery."
--Mystery Lover's Bookshop News

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780385485241: A Toast Before Dying: A Mali Anderson Mystery

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ISBN 10:  0385485247 ISBN 13:  9780385485241
Publisher: Doubleday, 1998
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