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Black and White and Dead All Over

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  511 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
A cutthroat newspaper editor is found stabbed in his office with the paper spike he used to kill stories. Who killed him?
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Anchor (first published 2008)
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Jan C
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2016
I found this an enjoyable read. Murder in the press. There is a lot here to attract those interested in newspapers. I have read Ben Hecht's A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago about doing a column a day and John J. McPhaul's Deadlines and Monkeyshines: The Fabled World of Chicago Journalism. Aside from the murder story, this really reminded me of both of these books, especially the latter. This book is full of reporter stories, some of them are even true per the afterword.

There are two mys
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was very painful to read, from beginning to end. There was nothing cohesive about the story line, there were more characters than the author knew what to do with, most of them with very far-fetched names, and only a few were developed enough to be believable. I found it very distracting to try to keep up with all the characters, sometimes having to look back to see who was who. I guess on a positive note, it was somewhat educational on the print media, although even that was confusing ...more
Nov 07, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Started out sort of interesting, but I think the author was having so much fun creating fictional counterparts to the actual NYT times employees, making up clever names for them, and satirizing the decline of print journalism, he forgot how to write a coherent mystery. Too many supporting characters, few of them well-developed, and some of them reappeared so late in the story that I had no idea who they were. I felt as if I should have taken notes.

And the thing that bothered me the most is
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Darnton returns with another great novel, this time using his experience as a journalist to weave a sensational murder mystery, layered with the life of a newspaper. The reader is taken to the depths of the world of print journalism, including its cut-throat competition among reporters, and faced with solving a horrific murder at the same time. A move away from Darnton's traditional scientific analysis, but well worth the literary shift. The reader can push through the murder investigation and a ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Newspapers are dirty business, and not just from the ink. Revenge runs deep, mysteries abound, and this fictitious newspaper has more than its share of people turning up dead. An intrepid reporter, a determined detective, and a few crusty newspaper men will help figure out who killed the editor, and his lover/the gossip columnist, and the food editor ... and a few more potential victims.
Dana Stabenow
A quick read, and a good one, although the writer's newspaper background is pretty obvious from the style. But that really works for the detail of the setting in funny stories about the modern day newspaper biz. Kinda have to wonder how the higher-ups at the NY Times felt about their opposite numbers in this novel.

Unabridged and read by Phil Gigante.

I gave this 10 minutes and knew, right there, that this is not for me at this time.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the hell out of this book. I really don't know how to write a decent review seeing as I just marathon'd through the last 175+ pages in one sitting, but I'll try.

First and foremost, this book was pretty much the antithesis to "Ammunition" in that there were dozens of characters, but almost all of them were fully fleshed out and felt unique. In fact, every chapter seemed to introduce a least a little backstory to a new or unnoticed character. Some of the last names seemed a little
Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-reviews
As with all newspapers these days readership, advertising and circulation are becoming a thing of the past. However you really know trouble is in the works when the body of a top Editor for the New York Globe is found murdered in the very newsroom where he works. And not just any murder, he is killed with a spike to the chest, in fact the very same spike he has used from the beginning to kill the hopes and dreams of other journalists by killing their story. The paper assigns one of their own, Ju ...more
Julie Failla Earhart
As a writer, there are many times I have wanted to kill my editor. And as an editor, I’m sure my staff had wanted to put a spike through my heart as well. Every writer’s fantasy comes true when John Darnton opens his new novel, Black & White & Dead All Over, with the killing of Theodore S. Ratnoff, the New York Globe’s “much feared assistant managing editor.”
Ratnoff is found by his administrative assistant with an editor’s spike stuck deep into his chest with a brief note penned in purp
Paul Pessolano
A well known editor the the New York Globe is murdered just outside of his office. It looks as if he has been killed by a "spike" that is used to kill stories. The editor is known for his "spiking" many stories and has earned him the wrath of many of the Globe reporters.

Priscilla Bollingsworth, the detective assigned to this case, finds that she has too many suspects to choose from and must find some way of narrowing down the numbers.

The Globe assigns reporter Jude Hurley to cover the murder and
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I loved this author's earlier The Darwin Conspiracy (though not so much his first novel, Neanderthal), so pounced on this when I came across it. A series of murders in the building of the New York Globe (i.e., the New York Times, where Darnton has for a long time been an illustrious fixture) shocks all the journos and indeed the nation. The tale is full of roman a clef elements -- no prizes for guessing who's the prototype for Antipodean media mogul Lester Moloch, for example -- but that's just
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband and i used to wonder why his editors at the new york times were always so mean and crabby. After reading this who-dunnit, we understand. This book is a murder mystery, ostensibly, but it's really a very detailed portrait of daily life at the world's most prestigious newspaper — which is losing more and more prestige and readership by the minute.It shows the incredible big dog eating little dog daily life there, the fear and loathing of the newsroom. But it also describes in an inspiri ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bad news is brewing in the inner sanctum of the New York Globe, the city’s long-standing newspaper of note. Readership, advertising, and circulation are plummeting—along with the paper’s vaunted standards—and the cost cutters have their knives out. Then a powerful editor is found murdered in the newsroom, with the spike that he’d wielded to kill stories hammered into his chest. The problem for Priscilla Bollingsworth, the young, ambitious female NYPD detective assigned to the case is that there ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Reviewers for the nation's major newspapers clearly loved this comic romp through their own stomping grounds. Anyone in the habit of reading the New York Times will have no trouble recognizing a few of the book's characters, and reporters and editors will probably share a great deal of the author's gallows humor. After all, Darnton did spend 40 years as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent for the New York Times, and Black & White is a tribute to an earlier era of reporting. A few c

Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. You will enjoy this fast-paced thriller too, moreso if you’ve worked in a newsroom, and especially if you remember copyboys, composing rooms, and clipping morgues (which I do, though I was a pup). The reporter is the hero (naturally) in this plot, which revolves around a newspaper that is an obvious send-up of the New York Times. (The author is a veteran Times correspondent.) Darnton knows how to both keep things moving and drop in key clues for the alert reader. The action is a ...more
Michael Ruger
May 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books, book-hell
This book was terrible it bored me to death. Nothing really happened throughout the book. There was three murders and then nothing for about half of the book. I'm suprised that I was even able to get through this. The characters were so boring and there were way to many people in this book. The setting was New York City and i felt like everyone in New York was a character in this book, I couldn't keep track of all the people and wasn't sure who was taking and the author liked to go from using th ...more
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Black & White & Dead All Over" isn't the greatest murder mystery ever written but it was a fun look at the (increasingly battered) world of big city newspapers. Taking place in and around the New York Globe, a thinly disguised New York Times, John Darnton (who worked for the Times for 40 years as a reporter and editor), puts together an intricate novel in which three newspaper people are killed and a young reporter and police detective team up to find out who was responsible for the kil ...more
Hee, hee. This was a fun read, good characters, fun plot line. All in all a good whodunit. Not too transparently obvious in most places. I never suspected the murderer but I also didn't swallow the bait on the red herrings.

The other fun part of the book was the walk down memory lane of when newspapers were king. It had interesting details about the industry.

It's also a "smart book", by which I mean if you're smart you'll pick up on the references to world leaders and events. I probably only go
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Someone has a mad-on against the New York Globe.
The first murder victim, an unpopular editor, is found with an editor's spike driven into his chest. Almost everyone who worked for the paper could be considered a suspect.
The second victim, the gossip columnist was having an affair with the first victim. She was turned into a wire mummy, wrapped in a bundling machine while still alive, left posed as a statue holding a copy of the National Enquirer.
The third victim, the celebrity food critic/TV s
Oct 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, really-liked
Circulation is down at prestigious New York Globe and with rumors flying about budget cuts and layoffs everyone is nervous. But when their powerful editor is found murdered in the newsroom, everyone is suspect. And that is only one of Priscilla Bollingsworth NYPD detective problems.

Working with reporter Jude Hurley, together they work to solve the case. With the suspects list growing and bodies piling up, Jude and Priscilla have to solve the murder quick before they are next on the killers list
Sep 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first "murder-mystery" and my 2nd John Darnton book. It was good - and no, I did not have it figured out. I thought I knew who the killer was, but was way off. An especially good book if you are a journalist, as the setting is in a newsroom for a NY Daily Newspaper. Darnton is a thorough writer when it comes to the actions of his characters, and spends just the right amount of time on character development. It was a quick read with short chapters, but there were times, however, when the actio ...more
Patrick Nichol
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fabulous murder mystery set in the world of a major New York daily newspaper, the Globe.

Somebody is killing select staffers of the Globe one-by-one, and it's up to reporter Jude to cover the story.

I liked this book mainloy because it's a great yarn, but it also made me nostalgic for the old days of newspapering.

Writing on deadline, even when their lives are at stake, is all the reason these reporters need to get up in the morning.

The plot has a lot of red herrings and twists to keep yo
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was just a lot of fun! It reminded me of two classic movies, The Abominable Dr Phibes and Who's Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? The author may (or may not) take that as a compliment to his work.

The mystery was well crafted with great characters and a wonderful setting. (One of my only disappointments was that I had no personal experience of a newspaper to make it even more enjoyable.) The quoted headlines, the descriptions of the different characters, and lightly veiled references
Matthew H.
Apr 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book. It centers around the the New York Globe. The newspaper is plummeting and readers are becoming fewer and fewer. All of the a sudden the disliked editor in chief is found dead. Jude Hurly is assigned to the story unfolding in their own news room. Jude teams up with Det. Priscilla Bollingsworth to find the killer. Along the way their are numerous plot turns and more employees turn up dead. The book leaves you with no idea about who could have killed them and when I finall ...more
Joyce B
Okay satire/mystery on the newspaper business. I am not knowledgeable enough to "get" all the inside jokes but there are some obvious winks, nods, and elbow jabs that indicate this was a satirical look inside the machinations of a New York city newspaper. John Darnton was a reporter for the New York Times with 40 years of experience and a Pulitzer Prize pedigree. I enjoyed some of the humor...and you had to allow the authors attempt at levity in the character's names. The mystery was mildly ente ...more
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All my newspaper friends.
As a journalist, I was really looking forward to reading this book. One of the editors is killed in the newsroom and then we get to watch the reporters and police figure out who did it.

I liked that the story is set in present-day journalism. It includes the newspaper's Web site and comments about the industry's struggles.

The book has a lot of characters, who I sometimes had trouble keeping straight. The characters were interesting, though.

I did enjoy the various twists and turns the plot took
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deliciously dishy skewering of the newspaper industry pegged on a whodunit plot - how could I resist? Great literature it's not, and you can suss out the villain about two thirds of the way in, but it is damn good fun. Darnton clearly knows his way around a newsroom, and the dead-on characterization and day-to-day minutiae are a riot. Journalism junkies will catch all the insider New York Times references, which makes the snarkiness doubly amusing. I loathe the word "unputdownable," which is b ...more
Sep 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It had a decently tight mystery plot but the characters could be too over the top sometimes and the writing couldn't decide if it was good, choppy, or one of several types of cliched. It was billed by one recommender as a cozy mystery, so my expectations were not that high and were not particularly underwhelmed, but I don't really think that should be an excuse. I suppose I might be missing the point in that the flaws I perceived made it funny or satirical, but, well, it just never felt eithe
Naomi Kelsey
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book as a doubly-recycled library discard on a sale table in the Philippines. It was 99P or about 2 dollars. One of the best deals I've gotten in a long time. The juicy insider tidbits, the gossipy details of newspaper life, and the unforgettable characters all drawn with a fine hand make this book very enjoyable.

The author somehow manages to take stock characters and a rather old fashioned world and keep it fresh, funny and interesting. You'll find yourself drawn into the book and
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John Darnton has worked for The New York Times for forty years as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent. He is the recipient of two George Polk Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. He is also the author of five novels, including The Darwin Conspiracy and the best seller Neanderthal. He lives in New York.
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