Synopses & Reviews
Being young, gifted, and black at Harvard has always been difficult. For Rosezella Maynette Fisher, outspoken sister girl and controversial Dean of Students at Harvard Law School, it was murder.
And the debonair new President of Harvard is a prime suspect.
A Darker Shade of Crimson is a novel about how Ella Fisher ended up dead on the first day of the fall semester, and how her friend Veronica (Nikki) Chase -- a smart, ambitious, attractive, and well-connected black economics professor -- sets out to solve the crime, and in the process uncovers some of Harvard's most deeply buried secrets.
At twenty-eight, Nikki is a rising star, the only black professor in Harvard's economics department. After stumbling over Ella Fisher's body during a blackout in a classroom building, she is quickly plunged into the investigation of her death. With the occasional tip from Raphael Griffin, a Harvard policeman, Nikki learns that plenty of people could have wanted Ella dead. There is the new Harvard President Leo Barrett, whose rise to the top Ella helped engineer. Before her death, many thought Ella was Leo's lover. Now he's looking perpetually exhausted and guilty. Did they have a fatal falling out? Or did Leo's high-society Brahmin wife, Victoria Wolcott Barrett, kill Ella to stop the affair? Perhaps the sleek university comptroller, Christian Chung -- whom Nikki comes to suspect is the leader of an embezzlement scheme that Ella uncovered just before she died -- did the deed. Or it could have been the Chairman of the Economics Department and Nikki's mentor, Ian McAllister, who suddenly seems to have unlimited cash. Finally, there's Ella's radical Afrocentric ex-husband Isaiah Fisher, who Nikki discovers was holding a long-buried secret over Ella's head.
Only two people seem to mourn Ella's passing: her blue-blooded, Wellesley-educated secretary, Lindsey Wentworth; and Ella's best girlfriend, Alix Coulter, an actress from Texas with attitude. With their help, Nikki sets out to unravel simultaneously the mystery of Ella's death and the complications of her own love life. Dante Rosario, her long-lost exboyfriend, turns up and sets off a chemical reaction; meanwhile, Justin Simms, a Harvard Law School student who flirts like a master, won't take no for an answer. It takes the combined wisdom of Nikki's landlady, Magnolia Dailey, and her best friend, Jessica Leiberman, to help her understand her own heart as she drives toward the shocking conclusion that will turn all of Harvard on its ear.
Proving that love can be murder, A Darker Shade of Crimson launches a major new career in crime fiction.
Featuring as its heroine Nikki Chase, a smart, sophisticated black Harvard professor, this Ivy League mystery -- the first in a winning new series -- marks the fiction debut of an electrifying author, catapulting her into the ranks of Walter Mosley and Sue Grafton.
Being young, gifted, and black at Harvard has been difficult for seven generations. For Rosezella Maynette Fisher, the opinionated dean of students at Harvard, it seems to have been murder. Killed on the first day of the fall semester, Ella has left plenty of suspects in her death -- most notably the new president of Harvard University.
After stumbling over the body during a blackout, thirty-year-old Economics Professor Nikki Chase is plunged into an investigation of Ella's death. With her trademark tenacity, Nikki sorts through those who could have wanted Ella dead -- including poor-boy-made-good Harvard President Leo Barrett, his blue-blooded wife Victoria, university Comptroller Christian Chung, and Ella's radical, Afrocentric ex-husband, who'd been threatening to reveal a long-buried secret. As Nikki unravels the mystery, as well as the complications of her own love life, she drives toward a shocking conclusion that will turn all of Harvard on its ear.
Marvelously witty and wise, Pamela Thomas-Graham is one of the freshest voices to emerge in mystery fiction in years. With great potential for a huge cross-over audience, "A Darker Shade of Crimson" is packed with spirit, intelligence, suspense, romance -- and a generous helping of fun.
About the Author
Pamela Thomas-Graham is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe College, where she received a degree in Economics magna cum laude and was awarded the Captain Jonathan Fay prize -- the highest annual honor bestowed by Radcliffe -- as the student "showing the greatest promise" in her graduating class. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, Thomas-Graham was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. At age thirty-two, she became one of the most influential women in American business when she was named the first black woman partner at McKinsey & Company, the world's largest management consulting firm. A leader of the firm's Media and Entertainment Practice, she advises Fortune 500 companies on a wide variety of strategic issues. Thomas-Graham serves on the boards of directors of the New York City Opera, the American Red Cross of Greater New York, and Girls Incorporated (formerly the Girls Club of America). She has been profiled in a number of leading publications, including Fortune, and was named to the prestigious "40 Under 40" list of fasttrack executives in Crain's New York Business. Originally from Detroit, she divides her time between Manhattan and Westchester County with her husband, Lawrence Otis Graham, a writer and attorney. A Darker Shade of Crimson is her first novel and marks the beginning of her Ivy League mystery series.