In such stunning novels of crime and character as Die Upon a Kiss, Sold Down the River, and A Free Man of Color, Benjamin January tracked down killers through the sensuous, atmospheric, dangerously beautiful world of Old New Orleans. Now, in this new novel by bestselling author Barbara Hambly, he follows a trail of murder from illicit back alleys to glittering mansions to a dark place where the oldest and deadliest secrets lie buried . . .
It’s 1835 and the relentless glare of the late July sun has slowed New Orleans to a standstill. When Hesione LeGros--once a corsair’s jeweled mistress, now a raddled hag--is found slashed to death in a shanty on the fringe of New Orleans’s most lawless quarter, there are few to care. But one of them is Benjamin January, musician and teacher. He well recalls her blazing ebony beauty when she appeared, exquisitely gowned and handy with a stiletto, at a demimonde banquet years ago.
Who would want to kill this woman now--Hessy, they said, would turn a trick for a bottle of rum--had some quarrelsome “customer” decided to do away with her? Or could it be one of the sexual predators who roamed the dark and seedy streets? Or--as Benjamin comes to suspect--was her killer someone she knew, someone whose careful search of her shack suggests a cold-blooded crime? Someone whose boot left a chillingly distinctive print . . .
His inquiries at taverns, markets, and slave dances reveal little about “Hellfire Hessy” since her glory days in Barataria Bay, once the lair of gentlemen pirates. Then the murder is swept from his mind by the delivery of a crate filled with contraband rifles--and yet another telltale boot print left by its claimant. When a murder swiftly follows, Ben and Rose Vitrac, the woman he loves, fear the workings of a serpentine mind and a treacherous plot: one only they can hope to thwart in time.
All too soon they are fugitives of color in the stormy bayous and marshes of slave-stealer country, headed for smugglers’ haunts and sinister plantations, where one false step could be their last toward a...Wet Grave.
About the Author
Barbara Hambly attended the University of California and spent a year at the University of Bordeaux, France, obtaining a master’s degree in medieval history. She has worked as both a teacher and a technical editor, but her first love has always been history. Ms. Hambly lives in Los Angeles. She is at work on the seventh Benjamin January novel, Feast Among the Bones.
Praise For Barbara Hambly’s
Die Upon A Kiss
“Ravishing.” --The New York Times Book Review
“Dazzling. January is a wonderfully rich and complex character.” --Chicago Tribune
Sold Down The River
“A masterly piece of historical storytelling...haunting.” --The New York Times Book Review
“The darkest time in American history comes alive in Hambly’s unforgettable series....[A] fiercely burning picture of the horrors of slavery...astonishing.” --Publishers Weekly
“Seductive...Sweeps from lavish balls on elegant river plantations to voodoo rites in Congo Square and savage brawls in mean waterfront dives....January proves the ideal guide through these treacherous social strata.” --The New York Times Book Review
A New York Times Notable Book Of The Year
“From the highborn Creoles in their river mansions to the uncivilized Americans brawling on the levee, Hambly speaks all their languages, knows all their secrets, and brings them all to life.” --The New York Times Book Review
A Free Man Of Color
“Magically rich and poignant...In scene after scene researched in impressive depth and presented in the cool, clear colors of photography, Hambly creates an exotic but recognizable environment for January’s search for justice.” --Chicago Tribune
“A darned good murder mystery.” --USA Today
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