In the Heat of the Night (Virgil Tibbs Series #1) (Penguin Classics)

In the Heat of the Night (Virgil Tibbs Series #1) (Penguin Classics)

by John Ball, John Ridley

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A 50th-anniversary edition of the pioneering novel featuring African American police detective Virgil Tibbs—with a foreword by John Ridley, creator of the TV series American Crime and Oscar-winning screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave
“They call me Mr. Tibbs” was the line immortalized by Sidney Poitier in the 1967 Oscar-winning movie adaptation of In the Heat of the Night, which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award and was named one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. Now fans of classic crime can rediscover this suspense-filled novel whose hero paved the way for James Patterson’s Alex Cross, George Pelecanos’s Derek Strange, and other African American detectives.

A small southern town in the 1960s. A musician found dead on the highway. It’s no surprise when white detectives arrest a black man for the murder. What is a surprise is that the black man—Virgil Tibbs—is not the killer but a skilled homicide detective, passing through racially tense Wells, South Carolina, on his way back to California. Even more surprising, Wells’s new police chief recruits Tibbs to help with the investigation. But Tibbs’s presence in town rubs some of the locals the wrong way, and it won’t be long before the martial arts–trained detective has to fight not just for justice, but also for his own safety.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698408401
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Series: Virgil Tibbs Series , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 159,613
File size: 455 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

John Ball (1911–1988) wrote more than thirty novels across numerous genres; his Virgil Tibbs series remains his best-known work. Born in Schenectady, New York, he grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and worked briefly as a part-time police officer in Los Angeles.

John Ridley (foreword) is an award-winning screenwriter, film director, and novelist. The creator of the acclaimed television series American Crime, he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave.

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In the Heat of the Night 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Beth_Rodgers_Author More than 1 year ago
'In the Heat of the Night' by John Ball engages interest early on and holds on to it throughout the course of the novel. Chief Bill Gillespie lives in the town of Wells and, despite his work as a police officer who has taken an oath to uphold the law, he still finds himself muddying the waters of how he feels regarding racism. The novel is set in the 1960s when integration had not yet hit parts of the South, and Gillespie finds himself unsure how to deal with a murder that took place in town when a Negro (to use the words in the book) officer happens to arrive in Wells, finding himself swept up in the murder investigation. Virgil Tibbs was originally brought in on suspicion of being the murderer of the man who was putting together a town music festival. An officer, Sam Wood, found him in the train station, ready to hop a train out of town. Little did the officers of Wells know that Tibbs would soon be their greatest lead in tracking down the murderer and solving little pieces of other potential crimes along the way. There is blatant racism present in the novel, but the characterization of Gillespie, Wood, and others shows that even those who seem the most prejudiced can often find ways to relate to those they claim to hate. Tibbs, for his part, tries to remain as impartial and unprejudiced as possible, but that is not always the easiest, especially when he is threatened and told to leave town before he meets his own untimely demise. The book is a nice precursor into the movie and television versions of 'In the Heat of the Night,' based on this very novel. The movie follows it more closely, with subtle variations here and there, but the television series takes more opportunities to show how times have changed from the 1960s when this novel was written and during which it was set and the late 1980s when the television series takes place. Despite racism still remaining an ever-present part of society in the TV version, it is far less "in-your-face," but that is not to say that those of different races are tolerated or accepted. The way the murder was solved and summed up by Tibbs in the end is truly a testament to the author being able to create an unpredictable piece of writing. It is always nice to not quite know what is coming, even if you think you know what may lie in the pages ahead. Beth Rodgers, Author of 'Freshman Fourteen,' A Young Adult Novel
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the Heat of the Night by John Ball is an excellent book. It¿s a suspenseful murder mystery in the south when it was segregated. I like this book because it was suspenseful and unpredictable. It leads you to thinking it was one person but at the end it¿s a twist and nothing seems the way it is. I really like how the author ended the chapters. Some of them ended in a way that I left me in shock and wanted to read on. This book is great for people who like murder mysteries, suspense and a little bit of drama. The drama in the book is a black cop trying to do his job in the south when no one wants him there and racial tension begins. The suspense in the book keeps building up right from the beginning of the book to the end. If you don¿t like being surprised and shocked then don¿t read this book, but if you do you should definitely read it.
Crazymamie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Virgil Tibbs happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is how he gets taken into custody on suspicion of murder. Turns out our Mr. Tibbs is not only innocent, he is a homicide investigator from Pasadena, California on his way back home after visiting his mother. Now the small town of Wells, South Carolina could use a good homicide investigator because they are dealing with the murder of a prominent citizen and an inexperienced Chief of Police; there is just one small problem - Virgil Tibbs is African American. The police department and many of the citizens of Wells are racist. Written in 1965, this novel is set in the days of racial segregation when the color of your skin determined what options were available to you. What Ball does so well with this novel is to show how bigotry can blind people to the truth and how true character can defeat prejudice. Tibbs is allowed to stay and investigate the murder because the mayor convinces Chief of Police Bill Gillespie that it's a win/win situation. If he fails, they have a fall guy, and if he succeeds, they can take all the credit for letting him solve the case. The three main characters are so very interesting here. Bill Gillespie is a racist, but he is also honest with himself and therefore understands that he is out of his league with a murder investigation. Sam Wood, the officer that found the body, likes and respects Virgil Tibbs, but worries about how his own choices and actions will be viewed by others - he is a man of conscience who struggles with his own weaknesses. Virgil Tibbs is a man who understands how the world around him works and who lets his own intelligence and compassion guide him through a world where a lot of the established rules are just plain wrong."As a boy Bill Gillespie had been, from the first, considerably bigger than his classmates and the other children with whom he associated. Because of this fact he could dictate the terms of the games that were played and impose his will on others who were not physically his equal. To his credit, Gillespie did not use his size to become a bully and he did not deliberately 'pick on' those who might have wanted to disagree with him. But his automatic leadership deprived him of an early education in one of the most important accomplishments he could have had - diplomacy. He was aware of this and it bothered him occasionally."The writing in this novel is truly fine for the most part. A few scenes are a bit hokey (mostly the ones where women are involved), and part of the plot is a bit thin. However, these issues can be overlooked because of the wonderful job Ball does of portraying how racism in the deep South infects everything it touches. Ball presents a full spectrum from outright hatred to those who struggle with their own racist views to those who are not racist. An interesting dynamic in a small town where the leading citizens must now depend on an African American to help them solve a murder."You're pretty sure of yourself, aren't you, Virgil," Gillespie retorted. "Incidentally, Virgil is a pretty fancy name for a black boy like you. What do they call you around home where you come from?" "They call me Mr. Tibbs," Virgil answered.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
A true classic. Written in the 1960's. Some may find references to certain ethnic groups very offensive but unfortunately, that was the way things were in the 60's, particularly in the South. A great murder, suspense story. Fairly well edited with a few issues. The type suddenly goes to bold and then back to regular text again. The story itself is powerful and well written..
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good book. There is a murder and it seems like everyone is being accused. Virgil Tibbs, a black cop from another city is put on the case and racial tension flairs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my fist real novel that I ever read ,in high school,before I was readin Batman and Archie comics