In the hardboiled tradition of Chester Himes and Walter Mosely, Robert Deane Pharr's novel tells the tale of two black men, Dave and Blueboy, traveling waiters who establish themselves as numbers runners in a fictionalized Richmond of the 1930s. Published to great acclaim in 1969, The Book of Numbers centers on powerful themes of truth and illusion, myth and legend, and vividly conveys a sense of African American life on the periphery of white society. The new Virginia edition complements Pharr's text with an Afterword by Washington Post editor Jabari Asim.