Dead and Buried (A Benjamin January Mystery)

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9780727879233: Dead and Buried (A Benjamin January Mystery)
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The new 'Benjamin January' novel from the best-selling author - New Orleans, 1836. When free black musician and surgeon Benjamin January attends the funeral of a friend, an accident tips the dead man out of his coffin – only to reveal an unexpected inhabitant. Just one person recognises the corpse of the white man: Hannibal Sefton, fiddle-player and one of January’s closest friends. But he seems unwilling to talk about his connection to the dead man . . .

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Review:

Sorrow, grief, and pain pervade Hambly's outstanding ninth Benjamin January mystery (after 2004's Dead Water), set in New Orleans during the summer of 1836. Trapped by poverty and the color of his skin, January, a free black who trained in France as a physician, goes undercover as a piano player in a high-class bordello to investigate possible embezzlement from the Faubourg Tremé Free Colored Militia and Burial Society. The discovery of a white man's body in a coffin meant for one of the FTFCMBS's members propels the justice-seeking January on a harrowing journey full of disturbing revelations to save a young English aristocrat from the gallows. Hambly's sure hand with historical detail, her convincing characterizations, and her view of the slave trade that debased both blacks and their white masters raise this tale of violence, deceit, and humiliation to a must-read commentary on human frailty and redeeming human friendship. --Publishers Weekly, 29th March 2010

1863 New Orleans witnesses the upheaval caused by "passe blanc." When the coffin is dropped, the wrong corpse falls out. Instead of black musician Rameses Ramilles, opium-addicted fiddle player Hannibal Sefton (Patriot Hearts, 2007, etc.) recognizes Patrick Derryhick, a man he knew a continent away when they shared secrets as they closed bars in Paris and London. Why was Patrick in New Orleans in the summer heat, traveling with Lord Foxford, Foxford's uncle Diogenes, and Droudge, his business manager? Sefton leans on his pal, free man of color Benjamin January, to investigate. The tale at first seems to hinge on investing in cotton plantations upriver but then veers off into inheritance concerns complicated by interracial romance and a touch of blackmail by a gentleman impersonating a lord. January is waylaid; Foxford is charged with murder by the New Orleans City Guard; and a lady's maid is sold into slavery to keep her quiet while mounting clues intimate that some families are passing for white despite parents of color. The undertaker's half-brother will be accused of siphoning off bank funds from a Burial Society and January will have to outrun overseers, slave traders and men determined to obfuscate family origins before matters settle down. Vivid glimpses of the disparate lives led by whites and people of color in mid-19th-century New Orleans. --Kirkus Reviews, 15 April 2010

With his first appearance in A Free Man of Color (1997), Benjamin January emerged as one of the most unusual characters in the realm of historical mysteries, with his creator earning kudos for both her originality and her extraordinary attention to historical detail. If living as a free black in nineteenth-century New Orleans wasn't enough to set January apart, his classical education, years of living in Paris, and knowledge of medicine made him truly unusual. Although January's past investigations have earned him respect from many in his native city, his endeavors to save the life of an uncooperative young lord accused of murder are still hampered by long-held secrets and by vicious racism that puts January's life at risk, time and again. Relayed through January's perspective, the story gives an intimate picture of the intolerance and struggles of the time, but as carefully crafted as these matters are, Hambly is also talented enough to entertain. That's two successes for the price of one. --Booklist, 1st May 2010

From Booklist:

With his first appearance in A Free Man of Color (1997), Benjamin January emerged as one of the most unusual characters in the realm of historical mysteries, with his creator earning kudos for both her originality and her extraordinary attention to historical detail. If living as a free black in nineteenth-century New Orleans wasn’t enough to set January apart, his classical education, years of living in Paris, and knowledge of medicine made him truly unusual. Although January’s past investigations have earned him respect from many in his native city, his endeavors to save the life of an uncooperative young lord accused of murder are still hampered by long-held secrets and by vicious racism that puts January’s life at risk, time and again. Relayed through January’s perspective, the story gives an intimate picture of the intolerance and struggles of the time, but as carefully crafted as these matters are, Hambly is also talented enough to entertain. That’s two successes for the price of one. --Stephanie Zvirin

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780727868671: Dead and Buried (A Benjamin January Mystery)

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ISBN 10:  0727868675 ISBN 13:  9780727868671
Publisher: Severn House Publishers, 2010
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9781847512253: Dead and Buried (A Benjamin January Mystery)

Severn..., 2011
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