Edgar Awardees for Best Mystery Novel

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Black Cherry Blues (1989)

Written by James Lee Burke

Dave Robicheaux was once a Louisiana homicide cop. Now he's trying to start a new life, opening up a fishing business and caring for his adopted girl, Alafair. 

Compared to Louisiana, Robicheaux thought Montana would be safe—until two Native American activists suddenly go missing. When Robicheaux begins investigating, he is led into the dark world of the Mafia and oil companies. At the same time, someone from his past comes back to haunt him. Someone who was responsible for Robicheaux's flight from New Orleans—someone who brutally murdered his wife—and now is after young Alafair... 

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, Black Cherry Blues spans from the mystical streets of New Orleans to the endless mountains of Montana, and ranks among James Lee Burke's finest work—an enduring classic, darkly beautiful and thrilling. (Copyright © Little, Brown and Company/Hachette. All rights reserved.)

Source:  Hachette Book Group.

James Lee Burke was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936 and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute and later received a B. A. Degree in English and an M. A. from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps.

He and his wife Pearl met in graduate school and have been married 48 years, they have four children: Jim Jr., an assistant U.S. Attorney; Andree, a school psychologist; Pamala, a T. V. ad producer; and Alafair, a law professor and novelist who has 4 novels out with Henry Holt publishing.

Burke's work has been awarded an Edgar twice for Best Crime Novel of the Year. He has also been a recipient of a Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA grant. Two of his novels, Heaven's Prisoners and Two For Texas, have been made into motion pictures. His short stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, New Stories from the South, Best American Short Stories, Antioch Review, Southern Review, and The Kenyon Review. His novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years, and upon publication by Louisiana State University press was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Today he and his wife live in Missoula, Montana, and New Iberia, Louisiana.

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