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Black Orchid Blues

(The Lanie Price Mystery Novels)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  289 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Lanie Price, a 1920s Harlem society columnist, witnesses the brutal nightclub kidnapping of the "Black Orchid," a sultry, seductive singer with a mysterious past. When hours pass without a word from the kidnapper, puzzlement grows as to his motive. After a gruesome package arrives at Price’s doorstep, the questions change. Just what does the kidnapper want--and how many pe ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Akashic Books (first published February 9th 2011)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Okay, so Black Orchid Blues is definitely not the mystery that I thought it was going to be. And in saying that I can hardly give you a detailed synopsis without giving too much away, but I'll try. In this story we met the very famous Lanie Price a crime reporter for the Harlem Tribune who is out for the night at the local hip nightclub where the even more famous and desired Queenie Lovetree aka the Black Orchid is preforming. While out getting a one and one interview with the famous Black Orch
Jason Pettus
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

It's true that I've been disappointed lately in a whole string of titles from the usually excellent Akashic Books, not exactly bad reads but just not up to their usual exacting standards; but I'm glad to say that the latest by them, Persia Walker's Black Orchid Blues, is a great return to form, I suspect b
Mocha Girl
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
What can I say? It's my book. I truly enjoyed writing it. It's the second in the Lanie Price series. Lanie witnesses the brutal kidnapping of a night club singer and soon finds herself up to her neck in trouble. It's a fun ride for the reader, but not so much for Lanie as she unravels a dark and twisting story. ...more
Mar 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, first-reads
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads, and I am very happy that I did. I nearly always enjoy the chance to read a book that I don't think I would have normally picked up.

This book was a complete joy to read. The story is engaging, the storytelling is smooth and wonderfully well paced. The book follows Lanie Price, a society column writer, and her journey through a mystery that begins with the kidnapping of a local singer in 1920's Harlem. Ms Price uses fantastic detailing (a
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
I must admit that the cover was a total turn off. It reeked of go-girl crossover fiction. Nevertheless, I read the jacket and am a total sucker for historical fiction. The story started off slow - yet pretty good with little cussing - another turn of mine - call me a prude - no problem -- I own it! I believe it was around page 60-70 something - where it clicked. A fast-paced drama - with all the right - whodunit - and chocolate love story in the midst of 1920s Harlem - one of the blackest places ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was the first piece of fictional mystery that I read by author Persia Walker, and I was not a bit disappointed by it. Black Orchid Blues took the form of a historical, fictional mystery, in that Walker based the novel during the time period of the 1920’s in Harlem, New York. She also included well known Harlem figures during that era, including A’Lelia Walker, who is the daughter of the legendary Madam C.J Walker. Embarrassingly, this was only the second African American author who I’ve rea ...more
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
First time I ever picked up a book by this author and the cover spoke to me when I tried to pass it by at the library. Yet, once I opened the book, I was en-captivated by the author's style of writing and voice in the literature is timeless. I love it and want to read the other books; yet, I did not know it was a series/installments. I hope to find out what is book 1 and so forth.

The descriptions are splendid and delightful to read, some say it may be an overkill but as a writer myself, I enjoy
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booktini-2017
Really good, gripping, crazy, ridiculous murder mystery. There were parts of the book that got really corny for me, and the ending seemed quite ridiculous, but the majority of the book was so intriguing that I honestly didn't care. This book kind of came across like the Black woman's answer to... (full review at Zora_Toni-Maya) ...more
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is the APOOO July BOM...I'm hoping it's a good read as I've heard nothing but good things about it from fellow bookclub members. Of course, MochaGirl enjoyed it and since she and I have similar reading taste, I don't think I can go wrong with Black Orchid Blues.

UPDATE THIS BOOK WAS MINDBLOWING...if you enjoy mysteries then you will like this one.
Fran Burdsall
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
What a bizarre story! I had to suspend my disbelief so many times, I felt like a one armed paper hanger. It's like a 1950's style Perry Mason but the author had to hold it together with child abuse and insanity. Eh.... the author worked hard to sell the story line, but in the end you just had to kill nearly everyone off to make it work. ...more
Aisha Moore-hughes
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is the braiding of Urban fiction meets mystery and history. Very sensational, and just when I almost put in in the “DNF” list, the twists and turns started and did not stop. It became a page turner, but be warned, it starts out a bit melodramatic. It’s well woven, and is one of those mysteries where everything fits. Every person has a role, just not what you expect. This novel won’t change your life, or give any life lessons, but it is an adult, plot driven novel. The psychiactric twis ...more
I am not sure how to rate this one. For me, it ended up between two and three stars, but I rounded up because it was a somewhat compelling read. However, I wanted to like it much more than I did. This was one of those books that I kept reading and reading and reading and never felt like I was getting any closer to the end of the book. During the story I thought 'she has everything in her except the kitchen sink... then I got to the end and there it was - the kitchen sink was in there too. Someti ...more
Rhonda Lane
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Smoky clubs, slow jazz and Harlem in the Roaring 20s.

I don't tend to give an synopsis with my reviews. I will say that I couldn't wait to get back into this book after I had to put it down for various Real Life obligations (like, well, sleep). Lanie's voice keeps us at the center of the action. Surprises are many. At least, they were surprises for me.

There is an incident, when you read it, that I bet you'll guess what really happened but Lanie won't - at least, not as quickly, anyway. There's r
Yes! A new Lanie Price book! In the latest of the Lanie Price series, a local star is kidnapped in a crowded nightclub and Lanie is one of the main witnesses. As she begins to work the case, she soon learns that her involvement was deliberate.

Black Orchid Blue has twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages...and its hard to stop reading!

Overall, it was a great read; worth checking out.
Pria Alston
This was a wild one. Crazy mystery with a very interesting twist set in my favorite time period.
Tamara Evans
Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Black Orchids Blues” is an interesting novel of 1920’s Harlem and revolves around reporter Lanie Price and the kidnapping of prominent nightclub singer Queenie Lovetree. Trigger warning: child sexual abuse discussed in graphic detail further in the book.

Lanie is a society reporter for the Harlem Chronicle newspaper and is surprised when Queenie approaches her to write a story about her. Although Lanie initially avoids Queenie, she eventually goes to see her perform at the Cinnamon Club. When La
Kim G.
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Persia Walker writes a page-turner of a story its a rollercoaster ride full of twist and turns I love mysteries that take place in the era of 1920's. Still, this mystery was not what I had anticipated to be. I was amazed by the topics of the LGBT community talked about in the 1920s. I enjoyed the mention of Madam CJ Walker and Langston Hughes, just a couple I named from the book. So you have a drag queen who has split personality from the abuse he suffered as a child. I also really enjoyed the m ...more
Read via audiobook.

It started off a very strong 4 for me. I love the Harlem Renaissance time period, which is why I selected it. The queer characters were a bonus.

I wasn't expecting the plot twist, but thought, okay let's see where this goes. Unfortunately, that's where it dropped a star for me. The subject matter, while a very interesting topic, seemed to be handled messily. Or maybe that was the point? Life is messy?

By the time I got to the end, I was just glad it was over. Perhaps this just w
Dylan Benito
Feb 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am super bummed. I loved the first book, but this one was very disappointing.

Trigger warnings include: using multiple personalities as a bad plot point, using an intersex character as a plot point, misgendering, child rape, using the crazy person is evil as a plot point, and more that I am just done with.

Bah, I kept hoping it would get better, but it got worse. Don't bother with this one.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This was fun!

The narrator/protagonist is a bit...verbose for my taste and the book constantly felt like it needed a better editor, but the story is entertaining and there's a drag queen! I loved this as an addition to the African American detective/crime fiction I've been working through; reading it felt like watching a classic old timey movie. Also loved that the narrator is a black woman reporter.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I !oved the twists and turns of the story. I am looking forward to next book.

I never heard of this author. I will be on the lookout for more from Lainie.

The story kept me riveted.

Lynn Sinclair
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very different book, quite enjoyed it.
Tam Tam
Popsugar Challenge 2020 Prompt #45: A Book Set in the 1920s.
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I did not like that the author provided very little background on the characters, it's all about the mystery. I wanted to know more about Lanie Price's family; was she Harlem born-and-bred? Or did she move from the South? The North? How did she get the job she did? I had too many questions about the main character which is probably apt for a mystery novel but I didn't like it. To be fair, I just realized (while I was researching some info for this review) that this is the 2nd book in the Lanie P ...more
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Was blown away by this book..This was totally out of my comfort zone as it dealt with the Harlem Renaissance.. and while I truly love, admire and respect ALL the authors that come out of this tumultous period I rarely read their work--shame on me I know but after reading a few Langston Hughes poems, a Countee Cullen novel, Phyllis Wheatley you know major African American classics I find them awfully depressing, real and emotional yes but terribly sad.. sorry but seriously--okay so this book has ...more
Ashley Reading Stewardess
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery

In 1920s New York, Lanie Price, the society columnist for Harlem, finds herself in the midst of an interview with the beautiful and mysterious singer, the Black Orchid, when a gunman enters the club shooting at innocent bystanders as he demands the Black Orchid go with him. Having witnessed the brutal kidnapping, Lanie is surprised when a ransom demand doesn't immediately surface.

As days pass by, Lanie finds herself brought further into the kidnapping as she attempts to help in tracking
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Black Orchid Blues opens with a bang! I was excited to find a mystery that takes place in 1920s Harlem, and I really liked the character of Lanie, a journalist for a Harlem weekly newspaper. The book opens with her getting to interview a drag queen entertainer Queenie Lovetree. However, that evening, in front of Lanie, Queenie gets kidnapped. Lanie feels obliged to investigate. With such a strong beginning, I was really hoping for a great read; however, the plot becomes so complex that the story ...more
JoAnne Pulcino
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Persia Walker
This is the third book in a series and it is a wonderful historical and gritty mystery about the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s. The atmosphere and haunting mood of the era almost becomes a character as it is so well done. The heroine of the book is Lanie Price, the Harlem Chronicle’, society columnist who is a fiercely independent women who doesn’t often listen to her editor or the police.
Queenie Lovetree, the six foot three drag queen who is billed as The Blac
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Readers of Persia's 1920s novels know they're in for a fast-paced trip through one of the most fascinating periods in U.S. history, the Jazz Age. In designing her stories, and developing her characters, Persia draws upon her theatrical training as well as her journalistic experience.

She has worked for The Associated Press and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She has lived in Germany, Brazil and Po

Other books in the series

The Lanie Price Mystery Novels (2 books)
  • Darkness and the Devil Behind Me

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