Published on: Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Takoma Park Newsletter

Friends Book Group Summer Reading


The summer selection for discussion in July is Rhode Island Red by Charlotte Carter. We will meet on Wednesday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hydrangea Room of the Community Center. We’ll also have a Zoom link for those who want to meet online. For more information, email

Rhode Island Red introduces us to busker Nanette Hayes, an African American jazz saxophonist. When Nan awakes one morning to find a fellow busker dead on her kitchen floor, the mystery begins. It draws the reluctant Nan to search for a legendary and priceless saxophone that many would kill to possess.

Charlotte Carter originally wrote the Nanette Hayes series in the 1990s. Rhode Island Red and two other novels from the series were republished last year. The series is unique for its Black heroine and its depiction of race, class, and sexism.

While Rhode Island Red may reflect the 1990s, critics have written that the Nanette Hayes series has the timelessness of other great mystery series and their heroes. Nan is, “as much Marlow as she is the women who tempt him,” wrote Caitlin Landuyt in CrimeReads. “She’s cool under pressure and she always gets her man. Plus, she can belly up to the bar with the best. As a result, these books feel as fresh and new as they do classically rewarding.”

Rhode Island Red is available to borrow from the library and is available on Hoopla as an e-book.


This article was featured in the July 2022 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see full list of past newsletters.