Few things make me happier than learning there's a new book out by one of my favorite authors.
One such author is Barbara Hambly who writes a fascinating mystery series featuring Benjamin January, a free man of color who is also a physician and musician, and ALSO solves crimes in 1830s New Orleans. The series is especially interesting in its unusual setting -- at a time when the unique French culture in Louisiana is colliding with that of the United States (of which it has been a part since the Louisiana purchase). As a Publisher's Weekly review of the first book in the series puts it, "Riverboat dandies and roughshod frontiermen rub elbows with dueling gentlemen of the landed aristocracy as their splendidly gowned wives and colored mistresses celebrate Mardi Gras, oblivious to the squalor, fever and plague around them."
Recently Ms. Hambly has taken a break from the series to do several other books (both very good!) set in 19th century America. But this summer, Ben January is back in a new mystery, Dead and Buried (A Benjamin January Mystery). Things start with a bang when a coffin is dropped right in the middle of a funeral, and the wrong corpse falls out! I won't say much more, so I don't give anything away. But if you're looking for a great summer read I highly recommend Dead and Buried or any other books of the series.
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