Cover of: In the heat of the night | John Dudley Ball

In the heat of the night

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Published by Harper & Row in New York .
Written in English.

About the Book

Few detective novels can make as strong a claim to social and political relevance as John Ball's 1965 mystery, In the Heat of the Night. Its protagonist, a black police officer from Pasadena California named Virgil Tibbs, passes through a southern town at an inauspicious moment. An orchestra conductor has been gruesomely murdered, and the police, without much in the way of evidence or possible motives for the crime, arrest Tibbs. When the police discover that he is not the killer, but in fact a highly-skilled homicide detective, they enlist him to help solve the case.What makes this novel so interesting-and what made it so timely-is not merely the fact that its hero is a black police officer (at the time, a very unusual figure in popular culture), but that he is teamed with a bigoted southern police officer, Sheriff Gillespie. The evolving relationship between the two men, and the mutual admiration that develops between them, exposes the bankruptcy of racial prejudice. Rational, gentlemanly and a highly capable detective, Virgil Tibbs forces Gillespie to reconsider his stereotyped notions and accord him the kind of respect that the racist sheriff is not used to granting to those of ethnic backgrounds different from his own. Tibbs has not only Gillespie to deal with: his investigation takes him through the backwater town and exposes him to different forms of prejudice harbored by the townspeople. For it is not just Tibbs' ethnicity that rankles the locals he comes into contact with, it is also his urban sophistication and his California background. Part of Ball's achievement in this novel, though, is that he refuses to discredit one stereotype by merely adopting another. That is, he manages to write a tale about a region of the country where ignorance and racism cause terrible suffering without making the mistake of depicting every Southerner as ignorant, or racist. If Virgil Tibbs topples some people's preconceived notions, the portraits of some of the Southerners in this novel do the same.A fascinating pop culture document from the Civil Rights Era, In the Heat of the Night is also a great mystery. Winner of the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America as well as the Crimewriters' Association's Golden Dagger Award, it was also recently named one of the hundred greatest detective novels of the century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. It has also spawned two extremely successful adaptations, most famously the film of the same name starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, which won a Best Picture Oscar in 1967. The television show, which starred Carroll O'Connor, was a successful but somewhat more loosely-based adaptation.

Edition Notes



Library of Congress
PZ4.B187 In, PS3552.A455 In

The Physical Object

184 p.
Number of pages

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive
LC Control Number
Library Thing

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April 5, 2014 Edited by ImportBot Added IA ID.
October 25, 2011 Edited by ImportBot import new book
August 4, 2010 Edited by IdentifierBot added LibraryThing ID
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April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Initial record created, from Scriblio MARC record.