013 Adaptation – Old
I don’t normally listen to audiobooks, but by the time I realized Cotton Comes to Harlem wasn’t a full drama, I was hooked. I had read If He Hollers, also by Chester Himes, some 15 years ago, and I think Himes’ sexism at that time impressed me more than anything else. Although it’s present in this story, too, it’s quite a fast-paced, hard-boiled mystery with sleuths Coffin Ed and Grave Digger (black cops in Harlem) irrepressibly developed as characters by the very talented Hugh Quarshie, who was able to make all the characters sound different by giving them recognizably different voices and dialects. In the story, a back-to-Africa scam (run by an ex-jail bird) is robbed. The detectives eventually figure out that a racist southerner has engineered this and wants the blacks who signed up for it to go back to the South instead. It was adapted and directed by Chris Wallis.