Chasing the Devil’s Tail


Author: David Fulmer

Title: Chasing the Devil’s Tail

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 348

Geographical Setting: New Orleans

Time Period: 1907

Series: Valentin St. Cyr Mysteries

Plot Summary:  The year is 1907.  Someone is killing prostitutes in Storyville, the notorious red light district of New Orleans.  After three women are found dead with black roses left at the scene, Valentin St. Cyr, a Creole private eye, is engaged by Mr. Anderson, “the King of Storyville”, to find the serial murderer.  As the case unfolds, all existing clues point to Buddy Bolden, famous musician and Valentin’s childhood friend.  It’s true that Buddy has been acting erratically lately, but Valentin hesitates to arrest him.  Drugs, women, and fame have changed Buddy and he is no longer the boy Valentin remembers, but could he really be responsible for the string of gruesome murders which have the district in an uproar?  Whether he likes it or not, Valetin St. Cyr will soon find out.

Subject Headings:  Murder; New Orleans, Louisiana; 20th century; Prostitutes ; Voodoo

Appeal:  compelling, deliberate, engrossing, detailed, dramatic, evocative, intriguing, lifelike, realistic, series (characters), vivid, authentic, complex, explicitly violent, layered, mystical, racy, strong language, detailed setting, historical details, chilling, dangerous, gritty, hard-edged, thoughtful, colorful

3 terms that best describe this book:  vivid, layered, gritty

Similar Works/Authors:

New Orleans 1900 to 1920 by Mary Lou Widmer – Ms. Widmer has written a series of books about different eras in New Orleans history.  This volume will give you a feel for the city during the timeframe of Chasing the Devil’s Tail.

Buddy Bolden and the Last Days of Storyville by Danny Barker – A series of writings about the creation of jazz, drawn from interviews and conversation.  Learn more about the historical figures and times that were fictionalized in Fulmer’s novel.

The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld by Christine Wiltz – Utilizing the unpublished memoirs of Norma Wallace, Wiltz reconstructs the life of the extremely successful New Orleans madam during the early 1900s.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

New Orleans Noir edited by Julie Smith – This collection of stories set in New Orleans both before and after Katrina captures the spirit and the suffering of this diverse city.

Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau by Jewell Rhodes – The original voodoo queen is featured in this novel.  Learn more about the fascinating character that was only mentioned in passing in Fulmer’s novel.

The Jazz Bird by Craig Holden  – Set in the 1920s, this mystery is steeped in jazz and bootlegged liquor and stars the son of William Howard Taft!

Name:  Bethany Bates


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