Cotton Comes to Harlem

Cotton Comes to Harlem - Chester Himes I was really in the mood for more of Chester Himes's Harlem Cycle books and this was the easiest one I could get my hand on at the moment. I'd read the first two books, [b:A Rage in Harlem|565816|A Rage in Harlem|Chester Himes||276413] and [b:The Real Cool Killers|272536|The Real Cool Killers (Harlem Cycle, #2)|Chester Himes||264241], and loved them. I had gathered that they don't need to be read completely in order, so I decided to jump into this one! In this installment, ace Harlem detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson rush to track down a slimy con man, who's been swindling hard-working Harlem families out of thousands in a phony Back-To-Africa movement, and ends up getting all of the money jacked. But all roads seem to lead to a bale of Southern-grown cotton everyone seems to be interested in!

While not as awesome as the first two books, this one had the same dry wit and sly social criticism that I love from Himes! It was definitely entertaining, but I found that I prefer reading about the more colorful supporting characters and criminals over the detectives Grave Digger and Coffin Ed. Maybe that's why I prefer the first two novels, where the detectives played more supporting roles. Also, a lot of the writing and ideas seem to be rehashed from the earlier novels.

But no biggy! It was still irresistibly readable, and I look to reading the other 1950's Harlem adventures!