Benjamin January's life is such a mixture of exotic elements and influences that Barbara Hambly's historical mysteries about him often seem to be in danger of exploding. There's his very black skin in a society that equates lightness to class; his shaky status as a free man in 1830s slave-owning New Orleans; the music that he loves but now has to play at parties to make a living because he can't practice as a doctor in America. Graveyard Dust, the third in Hambly's fine series, adds the murky religion of voodoo to the mixture. Ben's older sister, Olympe, practices that ancient art and winds up being charged with murder by a frightened and suspicious police force. Then there's the yellow fever epidemic that has broken out, threatening not only public health but the financial future of several powerful citizens.|
What keeps the book on track across all this colorful terrain is Hambly's uncanny ability to constantly show us the connections to our own place and time. January is always recognizable as our representative of strength and morality, even if he seems at times to be carrying unbearable burdens. Few mysteries have as much humanity and history in their list of ingredients.
Source: Dick Adler, Amazon.com.
Bestselling author Barbara Hambly's A Free Man of Color and Fever Season established Benjamin January as one of mystery's most exciting heroes. Now he returns in a powerful new novel, a sensual mosaic of old New Orleans, where cultures clash and murder can hover around every darkened corner....
It is St. John's Eve in the summer of 1834 when Benjamin January--Creole physician and music teacher--is shattered by the news that his sister has been arrested for murder. The Guards have only a shadow of a case against her. But Olympe--mystical and rebellious--is a woman of color, whose chance for justice is slim.
As Benjamin probes the allegation, he is targeted by a new threat: graveyard dust sprinkled at his door, whispering of a voodoo death curse. Now, to save Olympe's life--and his own--Benjamin knows he must glean information wherever he can find it. For in the heavy darkness of New Orleans, the truth is what you make it, and justice can disappear with the night's warm breeze as easy as graveyard dust....