Like Tubby Dobonnet, protagonist of his mystery series, Tony Dunbar is a New Orleans lawyer. He is the winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award, and his mysteries have been nominated for the Anthony and the Edgar Allen Poe "Edgar" Awards. He has also written non-fiction books about the South and civil rights and has lived for more than thirty years in this beautiful and complicated city. [adapted from Crooked Man, Kindle ed., (2012, c. 1996)]
Tony Dunbar started writing at quite a young age. When he was 12, growing up in Atlanta, he told people that he was going to be a writer, but it took him until the age of 19 to publish his first book, Our Land Too, based on his civil rights experiences in the Mississippi delta. For entertainment, Tony turned not to television but to reading mysteries such as dozens of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories. Among his favorites are: Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon, and Tony Hillerman, and John D. MacDonald, and Mickey Spillane, and...
He has lived in New Orleans for a long, long time, and in addition to writing mysteries and more serious fare he attended Tulane Law School and continues an active practice involving, he says, "money." That practice took a hit in the Hurricane Katrina flooding, but the experience did produce a seventh Tubby Dubonnet mystery novel, Tubby Meets Katrina
The Tubby series so far comprises seven books: The Crime Czar, City of Beads, Crooked Man, Shelter from the Storm, Trick Question, Lucky Man, and Tubby Meets Katrina. The main character, Tony says, is the City of New Orleans itself, the food, the music, the menace, the party, the inhabitants. But Tubby Dubonnet is the actual protagonist, and he is, like the author, a New Orleans attorney. Unlike the author, however, he finds himself involved in serious crime and murder, and he also hears exceptionally well. He is "40 something," the divorced father of three daughters, a collector of odd friends and clients, and he is constantly besieged by ethical dilemmas. But he is not fat; he is a former jock and simply big.
Tony's writing spans quite a few categories and is as varied as his own experiences. He has written about people's struggle for survival, growing out of his own work as a community organizer in Mississippi and Eastern Kentucky. He has written about young preachers and divinity students who were active in the Southern labor movement in the 1930s, arising from his own work with the Committee of Southern Churchmen and Amnesty International. He has written and edited political commentary, inspired by seeing politics in action with the Voter Education Project. And he has had the most fun with the mysteries, saying, "I think I can say everything I have to say about the world through the medium of Tubby Dubonnet."
Hurricane Katrina and the floods, which caused the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans for months, blew Tony into an off-resume job serving meals in the parking lot of a Mississippi chemical plant to hundreds of hardhats imported to get the complex dried out and operating. It also gave Tony time to write Tubby Meets Katrina, which was the first published novel set in the storm. It is a little grimmer than most of the books in the series, describing as it does the chaos in the sparsely populated city immediately after the storm. "It was a useful way for me to vent my anger," Tony says. Still, even in a deserted metropolis stripped of electric power. Tubby manages to find a good meal.
The Tubby Dubonnet series has been nominated for both the Anthony Award and the Edgar Allen Poe Award. While the last one was published in 2006, the author says he is now settling down to write again. But about what? "Birds and wild flowers," he suggests. Or "maybe television evangelists." Or, inevitably, about the wondrous and beautiful city of New Orleans.
[retrieved 4/29/2013 from Amazon.com]