Raleigh Harmon has a bundle of interesting characteristics. She’s a native of Richmond, Virginia, and went to school with Richmond high society. She has friends who own James River plantations, including the father of her one-time boyfriend. The boyfriend, by the way, served jail time, and he’s interested in resuming their relationship. Raleigh’s beloved stepfather was killed by an unknown assailant on a Richmond street. Her mother has occasional bouts of dementia. She’s a trained geologist. And she’s an FBI agent.
That’s quite a lot, but there’s more.
She’s asked to lead a civil rights investigation into the death of a black man who fell from a factory roof to his death, followed almost immediately by a police detective falling to his death. Raleigh’s boss wants the investigation over before it begins. Racial tensions are growing.
This is the story of The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello. And it is a story where it’s impossible to get bored – it’s got more action packed into it than a Rambo movie, including the heroine swinging off a building to collect evidence.
The novel is the first of the Raleigh Harmon mystery series. Giorello has written several of them, as well as a young adult series and a number of other works.
In this one, the reader gets some of the back story of Raleigh’s life – her immediate family, growing up in Richmond and living on Monument Avenue, her friends and professional acquaintances, and how she came back to Richmond after working in an FBI forensics research laboratory in Washington, D.C. And Giorello includes a considerable amount of local Richmond color and topography, as well as an understory about faith.
The series is, I suspect, aimed largely at young women. Raleigh is resourceful, independent, decisive, and knows how to get things done. She also knows how to get around obstacles like her boss, and isn’t beyond bending rules to do that.
I’m looking forward to reading more about the resourceful and interesting Raleigh Harmon.
Top photograph: The FBI building in Richmond, Virginia.