Monday, January 16, 2012

Stuart Woods and His Edgar Award-Winning Title


Over the past few years a number of mystery readers have asked me if I have read Stuart Woods's Edgar Award-winning book Chiefs and I finally finished it today. It deserves a five-star rating. It is a sprawling novel of 578 pages and importantly shows the begining of change and of racial justice in a small southern town in Georgia.

Chiefs won the Edgar in the category of Best First Novel, and was published in 1981. It spans fifty years of racial tension, politics, and murder in the small Southern town of Delano, Georgia, where a depraved killer claims his innocent victims even as three very different generations of chiefs of police seek to stop him. The time period of the novel focuses from the 1920s to the early 1960s. The paperback re-issue pictured here was published in 2005 and was a 10th printing copy.

Chiefs had a first edition, first printing run in hardcover of 20,000 copies and is difficult to find in fine condition; if you find one, prices can run between $150.00 and $300.00.

[A note from Beth: I was stunned by this sentence in the Wikipedia entry on Stuart Woods: "Woods has published a memoir, a travel book and forty-four novels in a thirty-seven year career, and has now had twenty-nine consecutive New York Times best sellers in hardback." And the material on the author's official website is even more intriguing. I'm moving Chiefs to my own stack of winter reading right away.]

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