It is 1926, the heart of the Roaring Twenties, and Harlem is the place to be. Years after dropping out of Harlem society, David McKay, a handsome lawyer from a prominent Strivers’ Row family, returns home, devastated by the news of his sister’s suicide.
Why did Lilian take her life? Why did she marry a man she barely knew, giving him a claim to the family home? Why did she feel compelled to keep her marriage a secret?
Burdened by a secret of his own, McKay dares to stay in Harlem to stave off the threat to his family home and answer questions about Lilian’s death. He rediscovers the world of the Harlem Renaissance, a place of suffocating class strictures, seductive patrons, and aristocratic civil rights leaders. His inquiry takes him from the wealthy salons of Renaissance Harlem to the crowded tenements of its poor. He uncovers old loves and festering hatreds.
This gripping 1920s murder mystery, taut and lyrical, combining elements of the suspense and hard-boiled genres, evokes the mystique of Harlem’s most fascinating era, the Harlem Renaissance. Absorbing and powerful, Lyric of a Blackbird combines incisive comment on race and class with a tragic tale of unrequited love.