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 . . .Wet Grave 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
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1 . Another offering in a brilliant historical mystery series
Posted November 02, 2009 by P. Ryan , Upstate NYI'm a huge Barbara Hambly fan, and her Benjamin January series is just about the best historical suspense I've read. WET GRAVE isn't the best of this series, but still, you won't be disappointed.
December 31, 2001
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Excerpt from Wet Grave by Barbara Hambly
The only time Benjamin January ever actually exchanged words with Hesione LeGros was when they were both hiding behind a piano in a New Orleans hotel hoping they wouldn't be massacred by pirates.
It wasn't a long conversation.
She said, "I'm gonna shoot that fuckin' man of mine for this."
And January--who had just turned nineteen and was hoping to make twenty--replied, "What makes you think any of us will live to see you do that "
As it happened, someone else shot her man a number of years later in the Yucatan, but at the time January hoped that the dark-eyed little African Venus beside him would have that honor, and fairly soon. The man certainly deserved it.
The whole debacle began, tamely enough, with the arrival in New Orleans of Major-General Jean Robert Marie Humbert, formerly of the Grand Army of Napoleon. Humbert, in that year of 1812, was avoiding Napoleon's various domains because of opinions he'd rashly expressed after the Little Emperor had relieved him of command. Some said this was because Humbert's army had ignominiously failed to re-conquer the island of Saint-Domingue from rebelling slaves. But January's mother--a clearinghouse for gossip concerning both the white and the free colored communities in New Orleans--was of the opinion that Humbert's affair with Napoleon's sister had something to do with it.