A Rage in Harlem

Chester Himes

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A Rage in Harlem is a ripping introduction to Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, patrolling New York City's roughest streets in Chester Himes's groundbreaking Harlem Detectives series.

For love of fine, wily Imabelle, hapless Jackson surrenders his life savings to a con man who knows the secret of turning ten-dollar bills into hundreds-and then he steals from his boss, only to lose the stolen money at a craps table. Luckily for him, he can turn to his savvy twin brother, Goldy, who earns a living-disguised as a Sister of Mercy-by selling tickets to Heaven in Harlem. With Goldy on his side, Jackson is ready for payback.

"Himes undertook to do for Harlem what Raymond Chandler did for Los Angeles."

"One of the most important American writers of the 20th century. . . . A quirky American genius."
-Walter Mosley

"Himes wrote spectacularly successful entertainments, filled with gems of descriptive writing, plots that barely sidestep chaos, characters surreal, grotesque, comic, hip, Harlem recollected as a place that can make you laugh, cry, shudder."
-John Edgar Wideman

"Himes's Harlem saga vies with the novels of David Goodis and Jim Thompson as the inescapable achievement of postwar American crime fiction."
-The New York Times

Chester Himes was born in Missouri in 1909. He began writing while serving a prison sentence for a jewel theft and published just short of twenty novels before his death in 1984. Among his best-known thrillers are Blind Man with a Pistol, Cotton Comes to Harlem, The Crazy Kill, A Rage in Harlem, The Real Cool Killers, and The Heat's On, all available from Vintage.


Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 160
Erscheinungsdatum 01.12.1989
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-679-72040-9
Reihe Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Verlag Vintage, New York
Maße (L/B/H) 20,6/12,7/1,1 cm
Gewicht 154 g


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  • Hank counted the stack of money. It was a lot of money -- a hundred and fifty brand new ten-dollar bills. He looked at Jackson through cold yellow eyes.

    "You give me fifteen C's -- right?"

    He wanted it straight. It was strictly business.

    He was a small, dapper man with mottled brown skin and thin straightened hair. He looked like business.

    "That's right," Jackson said. "Fifteen hundred bucks." It was strictly business with Jackson too.

    Jackson was a short, black, fat man with purple-red gums and pearly white teeth made for laughing, but Jackson wasn't laughing. It was too serious for Jackson to be laughing. Jackson was only twenty-eight years old, but it was such serious business that he looked a good ten years older.

    "You want me to make you fifteen G's -- right?" Hank kept after him.

    "That's right," Jackson said. "Fifteen thousand bucks."

    He tried to sound happy, but he was scared. Sweat was trickling from his short kinky hair. His round black face was glistening like an eight-ball.

    "My cut'll be ten percent -- fifteen C's -- right?"

    "That's right. I pays you fifteen hundred bucks for the deal."

    "I take five percent for my end," Jodie said. "That's seven hundred and fifty. Okay?"

    Jodie was a working stiff, a medium-sized, root-colored, rough-skinned, muscular boy, dressed in a leather jacket and GI pants. His long, thick hair was straightened on the ends and burnt red, and nappy at the roots where it grew out black. It hadn't been cut since New Year's Eve and this was already the middle of February. One look at Jodie was enough to tell that he was strictly a square.

    "Okay," Jackson said. "You gets seven hundred and fifty for your end."

    It was Jodie who had got Hank to make all this money for him.

    "I gets the rest," Imabelle said.

    The others laughed.

    Imabelle was Jackson's woman. She was a cushioned-lipped, hot-bodied, banana-skin chick with the speckled-brown eyes of a teaser and the high-arched, ball-bearing hips of a natural-born amante. Jackson was as crazy about her as moose for doe.

    They were standing around the kitchen table. The window looked out on 142nd Street. Snow was falling on the ice-locked piles of garbage stretching like levees along the gutters as far as the eye could see.

    Jackson and Imabelle lived in a room down the hall. Their landlady was at work and the other roomers were absent. They had the place to themselves.

    Hank was going to turn Jackson's hundred and fifty ten-dollar bills into a hundred and fifty hundred-dollar bills.

    Jackson watched Hank roll each bill carefully into a sheet of chemical paper, stick the roll into a cardboard tube shaped like a firecracker, and stack the tubes in the oven of the new gas stove.

    Jackson's eyes were red with suspicion.

    "You sure you're using the right paper?"

    "I ought to know it. I made it," Hank said.

    Hank was the only man in the world who possessed the chemically treated paper that was capable of raising the denomination of money. He had developed it himself.

    Nevertheless Jackson watched Hank's every move. He even studied the back of Hank's head when Hank turned to put the money into the oven.

    "Don't you be so worried, Daddy," Imabelle said, putting her smooth yellow arm about his black-coated shoulder. "You know it can't fail. You saw him do it before."

    Jackson had seen him do it before, true enough. Hank had given him a demonstration two days before. He had turned a ten into a hundred right before Jackson's eyes. Jackson had taken the hundred to the bank. He had told the clerk he had won it shooting dice and had asked the clerk if it was good. The clerk had said it was as good as if it had been made in the mint. Hank had had the hundred changed and had given Jackson back his ten. Jackson knew that Hank could do it.

    But this time it was for keeps.

    That wa