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Days of the Dead by Barbara Hambly
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Days of the Dead

by Barbara Hambly

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Hambly's historical crime series set in the various coloured subcultures of 1830s New Orleans gives us a fascinating and painless dose of social history. I enjoy this series more for the characters and colour than for the detail of the actual mystery being solved.

This one has our hero Benjamin January - a free black man, trained in both medicine and music - away on a trip to Mexico with his new wife. There's lots of new local colour - Aztec ruins, Day of the Dead celebrations, and much more.

January's friend Hannibal is accused of poisoning a wealthy landowner's son. Of course Hannibal didn't do it - or did he? And even if January can solve the case, how can the local upper crust be made to believe him? ( )
  cajela | Jan 16, 2011 |
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For Victoria
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Hacienda Mictlán
Outside the City of Mexico
September 16, 1835

Amicus Meus,
Enclosed with this missive you'll find a draft for what I hope is sufficient money to pay your passage here by the speediest available transport.
Quotations
"Damn Whig abolitionist," had snarled Dillard.
"Godless fleshmongering Democrat," the driver had replied.
"My nightingale, do you have any idea how much opium it would take to render Hannibal unconscious?"
I've been in this country a week, he thought, and already I've killed a man.
"The Americans in New Orleans don't do any of that, do they?"

"That's because the Americans breed behind fences like cats and don't have families, according to my mother," remarked January...
"Please don't tell me I'm about to be shot in the name of the Principles of Universal Law."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553581627, Mass Market Paperback)

The New York Times hails Barbara Hambly’s novels featuring Benjamin January as “masterly,” “ravishing,” and “haunting.” The Chicago Tribune crowns them “dazzling…January is a wonderfully rich and complex character.” Now the bestselling author returns with a story that leads January from the dangerously sensual milieu of New Orleans into a world seething with superstition and dark spirits, where one man’s freedom turns on a case of murder and blood vengeance.

Days of the Dead

Mexico City in the autumn of 1835 is a lawless place, teeming with bandits and beggars. But an urgent letter from a desperate friend draws Benjamin January and his new bride Rose from New Orleans to this newly free province. Here they pray they’ll find Hannibal Sefton alive—and not hanging from the end of a rope.Sefton stands accused of murdering the only son of prominent landowner Don Prospero de Castellon. But when Benjamin and Rose arrive at Hacienda Mictlán, they encounter a murky tangle of family relations, and more than one suspect in young Fernando’s murder.

While the evidence against Hannibal is damning, Benjamin is certain that his consumptive, peace-loving fellow musician isn’t capable of murder. Their only allies are the dead boy’s half sister, who happens to be Hannibal’s latest inamorata, and the mentally unstable Castellon himself, who awaits Mexico’s holy Days of the Dead, when he believes his slain son will himself reveal the identity of his killer.The search for the truth will lead Benjamin and Rose down a path that winds from the mazes of the capital’s back streets and barrios to the legendary pyramids of Mictlán and, finally, to a place where spirits walk and the dead cry out for justice. But before they can lay to rest the ghosts of the past, Benjamin and Rose will have to stop a flesh-and-blood murderer who’s determined to escape the day of reckoning and add Benjamin and Rose to the swelling ranks of the dead.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Mexico City in the autumn of 1835 is a lawless place, teeming with bandits and beggars. But an urgent letter from a desperate friend draws Benjamin January and his new bride Rose from New Orleans to this newly free province. Here they pray they'll find Hannibal Sefton alive - and not hanging from the end of a rope." "Sefton stands accused of murdering the only son of prominent landowner Don Prospero de Castellon. But when Benjamin and Rose arrive at Hacienda Mictlan, they encounter a murky tangle of family relations, and more than one suspect in young Fernando's murder. While the evidence against Hannibal is damning, Benjamin is certain that his consumptive, peace-loving fellow musician isn't capable of murder. Their only allies are the dead boy's half sister, who happens to be Hannibal's latest inamorata, and the mentally unstable Castellon himself, who awaits Mexico's holy Days of the Dead, when he believes his slain son will himself reveal the identity of his killer." "The search for the truth will lead Benjamin and Rose down a path that winds from the mazes of the capital's back streets and barrios to the legendary pryamids of Mictlan and, finally, to a place where spirits walk and the dead cry out for justice. But before they can lay to rest the ghosts of the past, Benjamin and Rose will have to stop a flesh-and-blood murderer who's determined to escape the day of reckoning and add Benjamin and Rose to the swelling ranks of the dead."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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