Hello Readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour for Pauper and Prince in Harlem by Delia Pitts, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources, and I’m pleased to share a snippet of this intriguing mystery.
Pauper and Prince in Harlem by Delia Pitts
A Ross Agency Mystery series
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
A vulnerable kid. A brutal enemy. An addled ally. Blood runs cold on Harlem’s hottest summer night when Drive-by assassins shoot up a crowded playground, killing the teenaged friend of private eye SJ Rook. Only fourteen, the kid was smart, affectionate, and alive with potential. His sudden death strikes the cynical Rook through the heart. Was this boy the victim of a cruel accident? Or was he targeted by gang hit men in a ruthless display of power?
To find the killers, Rook must enlist the help of another teen, Whip, a mysterious runaway witness. Whip is a transgender boy whose life on the streets has drawn him into the realm of a violent mob kingpin. Damaged by his mother’s rejection, Whip doesn’t want to be found. Not by the cops or by community do-gooders. And certainly not by Rook, a resolute stranger with vengeance on his mind. Rook’s search for the elusive kid becomes a dangerous trek through the meanest corners of his neighborhood.
Racing from desolate homeless camps to urban swamps, from settlement houses to high-rise palaces ruled by greed and corruption, the determined Rook pursues his quarry. An unexpected twist in the detective’s relationship with his crime-fighting partner, Sabrina Ross, threatens to derail his mission. Noble tramps, vicious thugs, and a pint-sized trigger woman also complicate Rook’s efforts to protect Whip. When a mob prince and a hobo hold the boy’s life in the balance will Rook’s grit and imagination be enough to save Whip and bring the killers to justice?
Harlem private eye SJ Rook pays a melancholy visit to his hobo allies in search of answers about the elusive boy at the heart of his latest case.
“With each hour, the danger to Whip expanded. He might not realize it, but I did. Rather than finish my boozy dinner with a third round, I hit the street, walking off the ugly buzz with a goal in mind. I paid another visit to Whip’s only known address: the homeless camp presided over by Eddie, the prince of paupers. The kid might be there, consulting with his mentor in rags. I could corner him and plot a way out of the danger. Or at least ease my worries for another night.
“Dusk covered my arrival at the entrance of the Palace. Odette filled the door frame, dazzling in layers of aqua and lime-green mesh. She looked like meringue frosting on stilts. The old woman recognized me; at least, I think the jig of her brows meant that. But if she recalled our previous encounter on the street corner, she didn’t let on. “Hey, you. With the crazy gorgeous eyes. I know you.” Without missing a beat, this last phrase led Odette into a burst of fairy-tale waltz. Was she the Sleeping Beauty in this song? Or was I? She twirled, then dropped her eyes, waiting for applause. Like that dream, her voice had been beautiful once. But now, age, rough hooch, drugs, and curbside living had scratched the glitter. She squeaked and strained in the high notes and ran out of breath before the end of the longer passages. But when I clapped, she ducked into a deep curtsey, a true performer delighted to please a new audience. Our encounter on the street and my inspection of her shopping cart didn’t matter. Only the applause.
“Odette, I’ve come to see Eddie. Is he in?” Booze slowed my words to fake patience.
“Of course, Eddie’s in. Like always. Where else would he be? Come on up and rest your fine bones a spell.” I held the door for her, and Odette brushed past me and up the stairs, her gauzy skirts swishing dust from each step as she moved.
Eddie sat on his mattress-throne, legs stiff in front of him as before. The gold knit cap had disappeared; his gray hair bristled in a wiry halo around his head. He’d unbuttoned his purple wool coat in concession to the stifling heat. As Odette and I approached, Eddie stared at a far corner of the vast warehouse, his eyes darting as if focused on a movie screen only he could view. “Hey, Odette, you’re back.” After this thin greeting and a nod at me, he resumed his vigil. Ever the dutiful hostess,
Odette waved me toward a trampled corner of their mattress. “Pull up a chair, doll. Eddie’ll come around after a while.” Her eyes were tight and her smile toothless, like a sitcom housewife waiting for hubby to return home.”
Delia C. Pitts is the author of the Ross Agency Mysteries, a contemporary private eye series including Lost and Found in Harlem, Practice the Jealous Arts, and Black and Blue in Harlem. She is a former university administrator and U.S. diplomat, who served in West Africa and Mexico. After working as a journalist, she earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. She has published more than sixty fan fiction titles under the pen name Blacktop. Pauper and Prince in Harlem is the fourth novel in the Ross Agency Mystery series. The fifth, Murder My Past, will be released in 2021. Learn more at her website, www.deliapitts.com
Giveaway to Win 5 x PB Copies of Pauper and Prince in Harlem (Open to USA Only)
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I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book, if you have read previous book in series or any book by the same author.
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