Murder With Southern Hospitality:
An Exhibition of Mississippi Mysteries

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Ace Atkins

Troy, Alabama native Ace Atkins attended Auburn University, where he majored in screenplay writing and played football. After graduation, Ace worked as a crime reporter for The Tampa Tribune (1996 - 2001), where his seven-part article “Tampa Confidential,” on an unsolved 1956 Tampa murder case, earned him nominations for the Pulitzer Prize and the Livingston Award in journalism. While still at The Tribune, Atkins wrote his first two novels Crossroad Blues (1998) and Leavin’ Trunk Blues (2000). He completed his third book Dark End of the Street (2002) and released Dirty South in March, 2004. Ace now resides in Oxford, Mississippi, where he is a part-time teacher in the School of Journalism at the University of Mississippi.

Atkins’ books are part of his Nick Travers series of blues thriller/suspense mysteries. As an ex-football player turned harmonica playing blues historian, the protagonist Nick Travers is loosely based on Atkins’ own life. Travers’ musicological fieldwork, mystery of a different sort, places him into very real life mystery situations replete with murder, robbery, and deception. In Crossroad Blues, a search for previously unknown Robert Johnson recordings pulls Travers into a much larger mystery seeking to uncover the truth behind the death of history’s greatest blues legend. With the exception of Chicago’s South Side in Leavin’ Trunk Blues, almost all the action in Atkins’ books is split between New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta. Atkins’ numerous forays, solo and with blues record collector Gayle Dean Wardlow (Chasin’ that Devil Music, 1998), contribute to his vivid descriptions of place. A cast of colorful, well-developed characters, reminiscent of those found in the works of Carl Hiaasen, is one of the strongest elements in the Nick Travers books.

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