1. Rhode Island Red

    Book 1 in The Nanette Hayes Mysteries

    Charlotte Carter

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    This New York noir tale of a saxophone-playing amateur detective takes some jazzy twists

    Saxophonist Nanette Hayes, a majestic five-foot-ten-inch Grace Jones lookalike with hot style, lives for the music of her jazz forebears. Self-taught Nan is no Charlie Parker, but she dreams big. She performs regularly—on the sidewalks of New York City. Not exactly the Village Vanguard, but it pays the bills in ways that her master’s degree in French does not. Mostly, Nanette just tries to stay cool in the face of the worst kinds of hardship. Recently, this has taken the form of getting dumped—hard—by her live-in boyfriend, Walter.

    When her normally messy life is at its epic messiest, fellow street musician Sig walks up, and—after insulting her playing and narrowly missing being hit by a bus—changes everything. Out of nowhere, sixty grand that can’t possibly be legit appears in Nan’s sax. Suddenly she is contending with two grisly murders, a former lover who wants her back, a jazz-obsessed ex-con, and some scarifying cops who are trying to shake her down.

    Equal parts tough and romantic, Nanette uses her street-musician smarts and her New York City savvy to try to save her own skin and solve a musical mystery no less a legend than Bird himself.

    Rhode Island Red is the first book in the Nanette Hayes Mystery series.

  2. Pub Date
    Open Road Integrated Media

Editorial Reviews

  • “Nanette—a former spelling champ who went to Wellesley, listens to Erik Satie, and uses words like ‘hiatus’—is an unlikely heroine for this first novel, a gritty bit of soft-shoe. Still, she’s its best selling point.” —Kirkus Reviews

  • “Nanette Hayes may be the most charismatic crime fiction heroine to appear in the last decade.” —Booklist

  • “Charlotte Carter blends street savvy with wry urbanity.” —The New York Times

  • “Sharp, funny and beautifully underscored with jazzy prose riffs.” —Good Housekeeping

  • “Irresistible New York fable . . . sex and jokes and a love for jazz which blows hot, cool and true from beginning to end.” —The Literary Review

  • “It’s refreshing to find a heroine who has both a rock-solid moral centre and a sense of humour.” —The Sunday Times

  • “Enough spirit to keep you turning till the final page.” —The Village Voice

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More by Charlotte Carter

About the author

Charlotte Carter

Charlotte Carter is the author of crime novels including the Nanette Hayes Mysteries-Rhode Island Red, Coq au Vin, and Drumsticks-featuring a saxophone-playing street musician and crime solver. Though Nanette is from a solidly middle-class black family, her salty language, boho ways, and irreverent humor undercut her bourgeois upbringing-and often land her in the middle of a murder case. The books have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch.

A recipient of the Chester Himes Black Mystery Award, Carter has worked as an editor and teacher. A longtime resident of downtown New York City, she has also lived in France and North Africa, where she took writing workshops with Paul Bowles.