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Ever since Walter Mosely garnered President Clinton’s kudos, black mystery writers have been coming out of the woodwork. Some of them should have stayed there. However, Grace F. Edwards does right by readers searching for a worthy black heroine and a captivating story line with her debut novel, If I Should Die. With the introduction of her charming protagonist Mali Anderson, a 31-year-old ex-police officer and current graduate student, the plot takes a refreshing step away from the sister-girl-in-need-of-love-she-ain’t-getting formula rampant in contemporary black literature. It’s truly gratifying to find a black woman ready to kick ass for humanity instead of fretting over a man who done done her wrong—again. Edwards reads and signs at 7:30 p.m. at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Baileys Crossroads. FREE. (703) 998-0404; 6 p.m. Wednesday at Mystery Bookshop, 7700 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda. FREE. (301) 657-2665; and 6 p.m. Thursday at Vertigo Books, 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 429-9272. (Deborah Rouse)