‘Murder At Fork Junction’ by Alston Anderson

Murder At Fork Junction by Alston Anderson, 1961

The magic trick:

Capturing a specific time and place in America but also in literary publishing history

Anderson takes us today to the underbelly of Little Rock, inside the illicit corn liquor game.

Truth be told, I’m not entirely clear what the story is up to.

Is it classic hard boiled crime story?

If so, it’s a little bit silly.

So is it satire then?

If so, I’m not sure I’m getting it. Maybe it’s just that it’s absurd to the point of comedy that a black private investigator would be welcomed into collaboration with a (presumably) white police chief in 1950s Arkansas.

As such, the story succeeds as a fascinating document of its time.

And that’s quite a story on Anderson’s part.

The selection:

“Know who killed him?”

“Yeah. Pete Smith.”

“Fork Junction people, huh?”

“Yep.”

“That’s a pretty rough outfit. I wouldn’t go near Pete Smith with a platoon of New York’s Finest.”

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