Black & White and Dead All Over
Knopf, 2008 (2008)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
hat a wonderful novel on the vagaries of declining readership, advertising and circulation of the newspaper business. As if that weren't bad enough, now there has been a murder of an important editor at New York's Globe.
lack and White and Dead All Over
tells it like it is – or was – in the city room of newspapers. It is the fifth novel by author John Darnton, a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent for
The New York Times
. He points out the cynicism, romanticism and jealousies of a business which often operates at a frenetic pace.
hen the murder occurs, reporter Jude Hurley takes reporting this death to the next step and does some investigation on his own, teaming up with NYPD police detective Priscilla Bollingsworth. The two not only discover clues but find that they enjoy each other's company. Our pleasure in that pales though, when reading of the employees' interactions: resentful old timers, schemers in the workforce who will do anything to further their careers, those at the top who seem more blunderers than capable of leadership. Then there is the crafty newspaper tycoon who wants the paper.
ll melded together, this makes for a great story. Satirical. Sad at times when reading of ambitions that didn't come to fruition, sometimes over just a single misstep. There's a great mélange of characters with wonderful names: Hagenbuckle, Grabble, Rosen and Guilden, Outsalot. The plot, while having many twists and turns, never appears contrived.
Black and White and Dead All Over
is simply a very good read, not to be missed.
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