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Chasing the Devil's Tail: A Valentin St. Cyr Mystery (Storyville #1)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  603 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Not New Orleans--but Storyville--noir...and all that jazz!
1907 Storyville. Cultures, races, and religions more often blend than clash in a rich gumbo only New Orleans could serve up. But trouble brews. In this red light district, prostitutes ply their trade whether in cramped cribs or elegant houses of French ancestry, while music surges through its streets and helps harmo
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published July 1st 2001)
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Chasing the Devil's Tail is an historical mystery set in the Storyville era of New Orleans, when prostitution was legal in a specific section of the city and seedy stuff was happening in it. The story revolves around Valentin St. Cyr, a creole detective who can pass as white, thus giving him access to halls of power and dens of inequity. He investigates several murders in brothels, each victim a prostitute connected to his friend, the early jazz (jass) pioneer, Buddy Bolden. It's an atmospheric ...more
Jan 22, 2011 Rebecca rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for Chasing the Devil's Tail. Set in a time and place I've long been fascinated with--New Orleans at the turn of the last century--and a genre that's a favorite of mine, this mystery was strangely inert. The solution to the crimes doesn't make a lot of sense (and in fact, going back and re-reading each murder scene the actions described on the page and the identity of the murderer don't seem to match up), the characters are one-dimensional (someday, I'd like to meet the whore wh ...more
Mindy Owen
May 01, 2014 Mindy Owen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I thought this book was going to be a bit slow, but then again, I was not in rabid reading mode. I was starting to come out of my reading dry spell, but I wasn't completely out. The author takes a good time to set the scene and introduce the characters. This brings the first of the Valentin St. Cyr series, so I imagine it won't take so long in the subsequent novels.
I found this book very well-written, and very entertaining. It really allowed me to visualize the scenes and the character
Sep 30, 2008 Korynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Despite the huge amount of research done to carefully enmesh so much time specific historical detail of not only real people and events but also place into the story, I found the mystery and, more so the detective, to be lacking skill. The basis of the mystery is not unfamiliar, someone is killing prostitutes. But the detective St. Cyr goes about investigating in the damndest ways. He lays around at home thinking. He goes and has sex with his girlfriend. He denies over and over again that the mu ...more
The real life characters and history of New Orleans woven into the story is great stuff. For me the rest of the story elements didn't come together. It was a rich gumbo, but he burnt the roux.
Oct 14, 2013 Devon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 12, 2010 SherrieB rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book while in New Orleans because it was recommended by an employee in a book store as being a good historical fiction book about New Orleans. It was excellent! Having just been in New Orleans, I could envision a lot of the places in the book. The novel is set in Storyville, a notorious red-light district that flourished around the turn of the century. A major bonus of the book is that most of the characters were actual people who lived in New Orleans during that era. Murder, jazz, ...more
Very engaging novel set in the New Orleans of 1907. The novel's protagonist, Valentin St. Cyr, is a Creole detective trying to unravel the murders of several prostitutes in Storyville, New Orleans' notorious red-light district. The mystery of who committed the crimes makes a very engrossing story and I was surprised who the culprit turned out to be. But overall, the most interesting part of the novel is the rich detail of New Orleans and its inhabitants during that time period. These include Bud ...more
Julie Barrett
Jan 04, 2015 Julie Barrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is book #1 of the Valentin St Cyr Series, I LOVE this book & I LOVE this series!
*I admit Im partial to mysteries, especially mysteries set in New Orleans -but a good book is a good book, & this is a REALLY good book!
Going back in time when Storyville/NOLA was raucous as ever -gambling, The Blue Book with brothel listings with little profiles on the gals & a tough Creole Detective to keep everyone in line!
I could go on & on -just read it, I promise you wont be disappointed &a
Jay Cardam
Feb 08, 2014 Jay Cardam rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, lovers of historical NO.
Recommended to Jay by: my research on 1913 New Orleans
This is not my favorite but I do enjoy Fulmer's St. Cyr Mysteries and Chasing the Devil's Tail is the initial introduction to the characters Valentin, Justine, Tom Anderson, Bean Soup, King Boland, Freddie Kepperd, and various sporting girls and madams of the famed Storyville... some real, some total fiction. He mixes them beautifully (Watch for the brief appearance of young Louis).

I love historic New Orleans and Mr Fulmer recreates a NO of the 1910's with dexterity and has a special feel for b
Richard Wagner
this could have been so much better. the characters are great. i liked the story too. but the storytelling leaves a lot to be desired. the story unfolds at such a snail's pace, which consistently scuttles any building tension. so when the plot begins to boil, the author turns his attention elsewhere and the fire goes out. WHY? and Fulmer has this annoying habit of recapping the story line throughout. i guess he figured that his audience will have been lulled to sleep with the pace of his present ...more
Dale Barlow
Mar 18, 2014 Dale Barlow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
what a thriller this was—a tad bit gory as well. Set in 1907, with a wide ranging set of characters surrounding the multiple murders of Storyville’s prostitutes. A hired private eye (black passing as white) + former “copper” tries to get the job done—with a whole lot of obstacles. (see also 2013/#42—Yikes; a GoodReads review, just now, notes this author has written 6-7 more books--oh goody) As well written as the 1st one I read; 2001 hardback via Madison County Library Bookmobile (obtained at Be ...more
Jan 11, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love most any book about New Orleans - my all time favourite city! This book captures the sights, smells and general steamy atmosphere brilliantly. Fuller definitely manages to tick all the boxes in that department. The plot is promising and I liked St. Cyr as the main character. Would have to agree that for a "detective" he didn't do much real detecting. But even that evoked a lazy, laid back atmosphere that seem to fit the story. The ending had a good, surprising twist as well. All the eleme ...more
Feb 08, 2016 Istiningdyah rated it liked it
Shelves: detectives, series

Chasing the Devil’s Tail is the first book in Storyville series by David Fulmer. The series follows the adventure of Valentin St. Cyr, private detective, in New Orleans. In the first book, Valentin must solve the black rose murder that’s going around the red light district in New Orleans. Several sporting girls found dead with a black rose found near their bodies. Since it’s happening in the Storyville, the nickname of the red light district, Tom Anderson the King of Storyville employs Valentin

Sep 18, 2014 Marty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have had this series on my TBR for some time. Since I'm now living in Louisiana, I figured it was high time to read it.

It's 1907 in New Orleans. Someone is killing the so-called 'sporting women' of the notorious Storyville red light district. Valentin St. Cyr is a Creole detective and former policeman in the employ of the 'King of Storyville Tom Anderson. The murders threaten to break Anderson's stranglehold on the district, so he charges St. Cyr with finding the 'Black Rose Killer' so named
Mar 27, 2008 Celeste rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a good mystery, the city of New Orleans,or History in general
Recommended to Celeste by: found it on the shelf in the book store
This is a historical mystery, a genre that is rapidly becaming on of my favorite, especially when in the hands of a master like David Fulmer. This book grabbed me right away. He presents the flavor and textile that had to be Storyville 1907, and in some ways is what makes the city of New Orleans so fascinating to this day. Parts of the story is in the people, Mr. Fulmer is so right, unless you are on intimate terms with these people you don't know the caste system that worked in this city for so ...more
Dec 22, 2012 Kristen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2012
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I liked it, for the most part, a great deal. The setting is good, and the author seems to have a good grasp of history and appropriate details. The detective evolves, and while all of the characters are somewhat one-dimensional, I can see that the author is gathering steam, and that people will become more fully realized as the series goes on.

I understand that this story is about prostitutes in New Orleans in the early 1900s, and I understand that it wa
Aug 01, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I love books written so well, and realistically that I feel like I'm actually there and experiencing the story with the characters - this book did that very well with early 1900's New Orleans.

Storyville, New Orleans was a red-light district created by the city's leaders to keep the prostitutes and the "Houses" of the time confined to a specific area of the city, ostensibly to protect the "upstanding" citizens from that. As always, however, there's plenty more going on behind the scenes.

When som
Nov 06, 2014 Mimi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this detective story! The physically setting in New Orleans is one with which I am fairly well-acquainted which made the story even more vibrant for me. The story line was rich and engaging - I did not have it all figured out at the end. The protagonist, Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr, is compelling and complex. His place in the society of the times and how he works within that society is an important part of the story. Chasing the Devil's Tail is a very enjoyable story.
CHASING THE DEVIL'S TAIL (Private Investigator-New Orleans-1907) – VG
Fulmer, David – 1st in series
Poisoned Pen Press, 2001 – Hardcover
Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr is hired by political boss, Tom Anderson, to stop the "black rose" killer of Storyville prostitutes. The primary suspect is Buddy Bolden, a friend of St. Cyr's.
*** New Orleans is a fascinating city. Fulmer does a remarkable job of depicting the sights, sounds, smells and social structure of that city, particularly the "red light"
I had a hard time getting past the prologue and the first chapter, primarily because the author kept shouting at me to "Look! It's GRITTY!" by throwing in multiple uses of the n-word, "whore", and describing people as having "nappy" hair. See how GRITTY this is?

After the first chapter, it pretty much settles into a ho-hum detective novel about prostitutes getting murdered in turn-of-the-century New Orleans. There's jazz, corruption, lots of prostitutes, the required detective-with-a-tragic-past,
Stephanie Smith
Mar 15, 2013 Stephanie Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book's protaganist is an enforcer and muscle-man for a New Orlean's mob boss who runs "cribs" ,or whore houses in the French Quarter. He's forced to examine his own moral code and reconsider his employment based on some situations that arise through his work.

I loved the sense of place and time-- Turn-of-the-Century New Orleans--that this book evoked. It is the rare author who places a novel so perfectly that I'm lost entirely in the setting, which is how I felt when reading this book. I lo
Ron Holmes
Sep 06, 2015 Ron Holmes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I am interested in New Orleans, this is a very interesting story. The time is 1907 and some of the "girls" are getting murdered. It is a mystery that I almost figured out before the end. Yes, of course, there was sex in the story. I recommend this if you are interested in that part of Louisiana.
Michael Belcher
Too much history, not enough mystery. Overly long ,drawn-out historical detective novel set in early-1900's New Orleans. Unfortunately, the author focused to0 much attention on showcasing the period and setting-up the characters to appear in future novels.
Dec 27, 2008 Ronn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
New Orleans is a city near and dear to my heart, and the music created in the Storyville era is also fascinating to me. Storyville itself has been long since wiped off the map, and most of the music of the era was created well before anyone thought it was worth recording. Histories of Storyville tend to be rather dry if informative. But Fulmer's writing is as evocative of the time and place as any I have ever read. His protagonist is engaging and knowable, all the more so for his imperfections. ...more
Aug 30, 2010 Jewell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is nothing like a good mystery that takes you through many twists and turns, not knowing how it will end. When it does end you just have to say wow! David Fulmer writes such stories that take place in New Orleans when the city was full of vice and divided strictly along racial lines. A documentary writer, Fulmer uses actual locals, people, and circumstances throughout his story. As a result, you are left really feeling as though you were transported back in time living amongst ...more
Aug 20, 2007 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great mystery - the story is compelling and the characters are fascinating. It provides a great deal of detail about the lives of the people of New Orleans, specifically, people of color. In New Orleans in the early 1900's, everything was based on color - and not just black/white, but all the varying shades of brown in between. The story focuses on the murder of several prostitutes in the Storyville district, and there is a very strict hierarchy. Quadroons, octaroons, creoles, negroes, there a ...more
Laura Cushing
Mar 12, 2011 Laura Cushing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in a series of books staring creole detective Valentin St. Cyr, this book is set in New Orleans' Storyville district in 1907. Someone has been killing prostitutes in Storyville houses, and Valentin has to unravel the mystery. All signs point to his childhood friend Buddy Bolden. The talented horn blower is in the middle of a serious breakdown - but is he a murderer? Nothing's as simple as it seems. This is a rich book, full of meaty historical references and real life jazz greats and h ...more
Oct 22, 2012 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2012
I really need that half star option in order to properly rate this novel. The overall quality of the mystery was probably more on the 3-star level, but I just had to give it another star for the wonderful sense of place and the excellent reading by Dion Graham in this audio edition. I really love New Orleans, and having been there and knowing some of the places and the history added a lot to my enjoyment of the story. I was impressed with Fulmer's ability to relate such a gritty tale without ove ...more
Oct 29, 2009 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i struggled between 3 1/2 stars and 4 with this story. went to 4 cause i read the second half in one sitting to find the black rose killer- plot kept my interest. loved the characters, esp tino and justine, lots of subplots, lots of odd relationships. the setting is the city of new orleans in the 1900s and practically becomes the strongest character. great facts re:beginning of jazz (you can almost hear the music), the racial class distinctions, voodoo and hoodoo. well done. will definitely read ...more
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David Fulmer has been a writer and producer for over twenty-five years.

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Other Books in the Series

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