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Publisher Description

A lush and haunting novel of a city steeped in decadent pleasures . . . and of a man, proud and defiant, caught in a web of murder and betrayal.

It is 1833. In the midst of Mardi Gras, Benjamin January, a Creole physician and music teacher, is playing piano at the Salle d'Orleans when the evenings festivities are interrupted—by murder.

Ravishing Angelique Crozat, a notorious octoroon who travels in the city's finest company, has been strangled to death. With the authorities reluctant to become involved, Ben begins his own inquiry, which will take him through the seamy haunts of riverboatmen and into the huts of voodoo-worshipping slaves.

But soon the eyes of suspicion turn toward Ben—for, black as the slave who fathered him, this free man of color is still the perfect scapegoat. . . .

Praise for A Free Man of Color

“A smashing debut. Rich and exciting with both substance and spice.”Star Tribune, Minneapolis

“A sparkling gem.”—King Features Syndicate

“An astonishing tour de force.”—Margaret Maron

“Superb.”Drood Review of Mystery

“A darned good murder mystery.”USA Today

Mysteries & Thrillers
June 2
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

SallyFS1 ,

A Free Man of Color

Benjamin January and his 1830’s New Orleans are portrayed vividly in this intriguing mystery by Barbara Hambly. The strict rules, intricacies, and hierarchies of black-colored-American-French-Creole-voodoo societies are carefully explained. Hambly is a wonderful writer who weaves well -researched history of time, place, culture, and character into her fascinating mystery.

rslclajl ,

Authentic & entertaining

As an avid reader of historical mysteries, I highly recommend the Benjamin January series. It is fastidiously researched and full of realistic characters. The stories are set in 1830s New Orleans with the protagonist being a freed slave. He has access to the high circles of Creole society as a pianist who plays their balls & instructs their children. Yet he also lives in the world of the placées, the quadroon & octroon mistresses to the Creole men, through his mother & half-sister, and is acquainted with the world of voodoo through his full sister. The series has unique plots that don't disappoint.

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