Review: Black and Blue in Harlem by Delia C. Pitts #DiverseDetectives

black and blue in harlem

Pub. Date: February 4th 2019 I FriesenPress I Pages: 144 I Crime/Mystery I CW: Alcohol addiction



“SJ Rook came to Harlem to re-build a life. You hit bottom, the only way out is up, right? Nice home, nice job, nice girl. With a few breaks, a hard-luck private eye can land on his feet, even if his balance is still shaky. But now that cozy home has turned deadly.

Harlem is frigid the night Rook arrives home to find his own apartment building is a crime scene. With his pal NYPD Detective Archie Lin working the case, Rook joins the investigation into the death of his neighbor. Nomie George was a gentle, unassuming city bureaucrat, with few friends and no apparent enemies. Minding her own business, following government rules, and hoarding her skimpy paycheck were Nomie’s chief pleasures. But a frosty fifteen-story plunge ended her life. Could her lonely death be a suicide? Or might a brutal murderer be on the loose?” (


Black and Blue in Harlem is the third book in the Ross Agency mystery series about Rook, a Black private eye in Harlem. The crime scene is close as an older woman, Nomie George, is found murdered at Rook’s own appartement building. Together with his detective friend Lin, Rook works the case to find out of this is a murder or a suicide, as first appears.

This is a short, very readable mystery of the more gritty and urban variety with a great detective. I really liked how Pitts made Harlem come alive for the reader and it wasn’t obvious whodunnit. Rook is a complex character who struggles with alcohol addiction and a difficult past, please check the content warning to make sure this isn’t triggering for you. I also loved the side characters who were all round characters with lives and problems of their own.

I really enjoyed this new to me #DiverseDetectives mystery about Rook and Harlem’s people and will definitely go back to read the first two books in this series. And take note, the next book in this series, Pauper and Prince in Harlem, is slated for release in summer 2019! Go add the books to your Goodreads TBR here.

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