America, 1920s. A plague is spreading, and it’s spreading fast, from New Orleans to Chicago to New York. It’s an epidemic of freedom, joy and self-expression, being spread by Black artists, that makes anyone who catches it desperate to dance, sing, laugh and jive. It’s the outbreak of Jazz, Ragtime and Blues onto the world scene; the spirit of Blackness overtaking America and the world. And it’s threatening to dismantle the whole social order. Working to root out the plague by any means possible – even murder – are the members of The Wallflower Order, an international conspiracy dedicated to puritanism and control. But, deep in the heart of Harlem, private eye and Vodun priest Papa LaBas is determined to defend his flourishing ancient culture against their insidious plans.
‘A great writer’ James Baldwin
‘Part vision, part satire, part farce … a wholly original, unholy cross between the craft of fiction and witchcraft’ The New York Times
A plague is spreading across 1920s America, racing from New Orleans to New York. It’s an epidemic of free expression, carried by black artists, and its symptoms are an uncontrollable urge to dance, sing, laugh and jive. The state will stop at nothing to suppress the outbreak, but, deep in the heart of Harlem, private eye and Vodum priest Papa LaBas has other ideas – and, possibly, the key to everything. A freewheeling, explosive blend of jazz, ragtime, ancient myth, magic and conspiracy thriller, this anarchic postmodern classic is a satire for our times.