When The Emperor of Ocean Park was published, the Observer declared: 'The book is superb, both as a thriller and as a novel of social observation.' Now, with that same astute social observation, narrative drive, and richness of plot and character, Stephen Carter returns us to the New England university town of Elm Harbor, where the murder of a renowned African-American economist opens a door on the racial complications of the town's past, on one family's secrets, and on the most hidden and powerful bastions of African-American political influence.
At the centre are Lemaster and Julia Carlyle. He is president of the university, she is a dean at the divinity school - African-Americans living in 'the heart of whiteness'. Lemaster's connections lead to the President of the United States, his old college room-mate. Julia is connected to the dead man, Kellen Zant, her lover before she met Lemaster. The meeting point of these connections - a murder committed and covered up in Elm Harbor thirty years ago, and the shocking plans carried out by a fraternity of the 'darker nation' - forms the core of a mystery that deepens even as Julia, guided by clues left her by Zant, closes in on the politically earth-shattering motive behind his murder.
Suspenseful from first to last, galvanising in its exploration of the profound difference between allegiance to ideas and to people, New England White is a resounding confirmation of Stephen Carter's gifts as a writer of fiction.
Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. He is the author of several non-fiction books and the novel The Emperor of Ocean Park.
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