cover image Dead and Buried: A Benjamin January Mystery

Dead and Buried: A Benjamin January Mystery

Barbara Hambly, . . Severn, $28.95 (250pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-6867-1

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. (June)