Black and White and Dead All Over

By JOHN DARNTON

From the first chapter, Black and White and Dead All Over is loaded with evidence that John Darnton has crafted more than a murder mystery. Picture this: the body of the assistant managing editor of the New York Globe, notorious for humiliating his staff, is found dead on the floor with an editor’s spike –used to “kill” stories — driven into his chest. What follows is not only an investigation by NYPD detective Pricilla Bollingsworth and Jude Hurley, the Globe‘s own up-and-coming investigative reporter, but a tongue-in-cheek romp through the thinly disguised fictional landscape of The New York Times and the contemporary media industry. As Bollingsworth and Hurley traverse the gritty streets of New York and the bubblig cauldron of chaos and productivity that is the Globe’s newsroom, their story unfolds like an action film. Along the way, Darnton tempers the grisly (death by mummification in the newspaper bundling machine) with the comic (the owner of the Globe plops the end of his rival’s bespoke tie — decorated with winged, pink typewriters — into a cup of coffee), and throws in a strong dose of sardonic commentary about the news business for good measure. Drawing on decades of his own experience at the Times, where he served as a foreign correspondent and editor, Darnton brings to life a vivid cast of characters with colorful names such as Outsalot (the restaurant reviewer) and Pomegranate (he’s overweight) that are just enough like their real-life counterparts to keep the reader speculating who they might be, along with the murderer, until the very end.