By Barbara Hambly

In such wonderful novels of crime and personality as Die Upon a Kiss, offered Down the River, and A unfastened guy of Color, Benjamin January tracked down killers throughout the sensuous, atmospheric, dangerously appealing global of outdated New Orleans. Now, during this new novel via bestselling writer Barbara Hambly, he follows a path of homicide from illicit again alleys to glittering mansions to a depressing position the place the oldest and deadliest secrets and techniques lie buried . . .

Wet Grave

It’s 1835 and the relentless glare of the overdue July sunlight has slowed New Orleans to a standstill. whilst Hesione LeGros--once a corsair’s jeweled mistress, now a raddled hag--is came across slashed to loss of life in a shanty at the edge of New Orleans’s so much lawless sector, there are few to care. yet certainly one of them is Benjamin January, musician and instructor. He good recollects her blazing ebony attractiveness while she seemed, exquisitely gowned and convenient with a stiletto, at a demimonde ceremonial dinner years in the past.

Who would wish to kill this lady now--Hessy, they stated, might flip a trick for a bottle of rum--had a few quarrelsome “customer” determined to put off her? Or may or not it's one of many sexual predators who roamed the darkish and seedy streets? Or--as Benjamin involves suspect--was her killer a person she knew, somebody whose cautious seek of her shack indicates a cold-blooded crime? somebody whose boot left a chillingly specified print . . .

His inquiries at taverns, markets, and slave dances exhibit little approximately “Hellfire Hessy” considering her glory days in Barataria Bay, as soon as the lair of gents pirates. Then the homicide is swept from his brain via the supply of a crate choked with contraband rifles--and another telltale boot print left by means of its claimant. whilst a homicide speedily follows, Ben and Rose Vitrac, the lady he loves, worry the workings of a serpentine brain and a treacherous plot: one in simple terms they could wish to thwart in time.

All too quickly they're fugitives of colour within the stormy bayous and marshes of slave-stealer kingdom, headed for smugglers’ haunts and sinister plantations, the place one fake step can be their final towards a...Wet Grave.

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So much of them beloved the excellence of donning a jacket and boots, not to mention trousers. He carried a shotgun like that of his spouse. either decreased their guns whilst the lantern-glow confirmed them they were not facing one in all Captain Chamoflet's smugglers. “You simply passin' via? ” requested Serapis—meaning, Are you a runaway? the motive force could have been twenty-five, yet he appeared older. among overwork and not fairly adequate to devour, by no means relatively adequate sleep or relaxation, males ordinarily did not become old within the quarters. His used to be stable, and he carried himself proudly. Whoever owned those slaves, January discovered himself considering, should have ability within the dealing with of fellows. “My brother and me, we lookin' for a spot to sleep, 'case it rains later,” spoke back January. “That's all. We be passed by mornin'. ” “Best you be long gone now. ” Serapis had a deep voice, mellow and tender. January guessed him to be natural African, just like the more youthful guy beside him. He wore a juju-bag tied round his chest and neck with string, a gloomy splodge like a cicatrice among his arm and his ribs. Close-up, January may become aware of the frailest whiff of the whiskey that the bag used to be soaked in periodically, to “feed” the spirit—a ball of intricately knotted string, such a lot likely—within. “I swear to you, we ain't out to scouse borrow anything,” January stated. “Just that out at the marsh, we noticeable fogeys approximately we would fairly now not run onto in the dead of night. ” “Best you be long past now,” the motive force repeated. “There's a shed out at the marsh, below an oak by means of the outdated bayou. Roof do not leak too undesirable. yet we do not have strangers comin' round St. Roche. that is your warnin'. ” He touched the lock of his shotgun. “You will not get one other. ” January held up his fingers, palm-out, placating, “I did not suggest to offend. . . . ” “You did not. ” “Thank you for notice concerning the shed. we are going to yes sleep there, and prefer I stated, we will be passed by break of day. ” “See you're, then,” stated the driving force. “Igi and me, we are going to see you and your brother to the top of the bayou, ensure you do not get yourselves misplaced. The slave-stealers, they generally retains away, or works to the north. You be very well. Whistle in your brother, and confirm he is familiar with to not get back the following. ” “Alejo,” known as January softly, the identify they agreed on. “It's alright. We goin' to a shed at the bayou to sleep, now not comin' again the following. ” And he observed a flickering wisp at the hours of darkness that used to be Rose, and a gleam of the sinking moonlight on her spectacles. He guessed she'd heard each be aware. in simple terms after they have been by myself within the shed—with sunrise purely an hour away and each chicken at the marsh giving tongue like Judgment Morning—did he ask, “What the hell did you are making of that? ” “At a guess,” she murmured—barely greater than a murmur opposed to his shoulder within the dark—“he thinks we would be operating for M'sieu Chamoflet. This as regards to the Barataria they have to get slave-stealers from time to time. ” “Or he is heard something,” steered January. “We have been searching for weapons, and there they're. ” “Only a idiot might purchase shotguns for a riot if he may purchase rifles instead,” mentioned Rose.

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