Cover image for Memphis ribs
Memphis ribs
Duff, Gerald.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Bend, OR : Salvo Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
209 pages ; 22 cm
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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An unconventional Southern mystery that is both amusing and brutally graphic.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Trying to mix crime and comedy is always a gamble--and one that many writers lose. Duff, on the other hand, hits the jackpot, perhaps because he never appears to be trying. In prose as laid-back southern as a hound dog napping under the porch, Duff introduces us to Sergeant J. W. Ragsdale, Memphis cop and rib fanatic. With Memphis preparing for its annual Barbecue Festival and Cotton Carnival, J. W. is charged with finding out who killed a drunken tourist who chose the wrong time to use an ATM. As the first crime points toward the notorious Bones family gang, a second murder occurs, sending J. W. on the road to his native Mississippi Delta to determine if the two crimes are related. With J. W.'s dry wit keeping readers chuckling, Duff folds a vivid picture of the South into a solid, well-plotted procedural. As sweet and satisfying as a barbecue dinner, without the fat. Jenny McLarin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Pale-eyed, sandy-haired, "just on the edge of... redneck," Memphis homicide detective J.W. Ragsdale eats and banters his way through a rollicking if unoriginal tale of drugs, death and the redemptive powers of barbecue pork. On the eve of Memphis's big f¬ąte, the Cotton Carnival, a group of apparently unconnected people are murdered. Wealthy white socialite Aires Saxon, father of this year's Cotton Maid, is found dead at home, his bodyguard dozing upstairs. A drunken, white conventioner is stabbed at a cash machine, and three small-time, black street dealers are shot to death on Baby Street. When he realizes that sleuthing at the Saxons' Mississippi plantation will also allow him to satisfy his yen for catfishing at state expense, Ragsdale is off and running. The story that unfolds won't be unfamiliar to veteran mystery fans, but Duff retells it with gusto and humor. And when it comes to describing the flavor of barbecue as well as the sights and sounds of a festival, Duff gives Calvin Trillin a run for his money. Duff's also got the local dialect and dialogue down cold. With writing so good, however, readers may leave wishing he'd take on something more substantial next time out. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Well-heeled shysters, in-fighting gang members, and overworked police share a very particular locale known as Memphis. Sergeant J.W. Ragsdale and partner Tyrone struggle to contain the rampaging Bone Family gang, which has begun trading drugs with a certain well-known "legitimate" businessman whose father has just been murdered. Murder, vandalism, some wild barbecue, and a few sexual escapades keep the novel jumping. Tense action, realistic dialog, intermittent humor, and somewhat novel surrounds make this a good buy for larger collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.