What was it like to live in New Orleans in 1833? If you read this novel you will experience the heat and humidity, yellow fever, and culture of the time. And, if you happen to be a person of color you will begin to understand the prejudices and distinctions among colors as well. Benjamin January is a surgeon who was educated in Paris where he married and was living happily until his wife died. Returning home he finds that his black skin prevents him from practicing in many parts of the city. Only others of color call on his medical services.
He has been home a year and is now working at the Charity Hospital tending the sick. Exhausted, he meets a young black woman who asks for his help. She is accused of murder and theft but swears she is innocent. Ben is not sure he believes her but her problems is the beginning of a mystery to track down those who are capturing free men and women and selling them out of state as slaves. As he traces searching for clues as to who is kidnapping free mena nd women of color another related mystery surfaces. How and why could the young woman wanting his help disappear completely? No one has seen her or knows where she has gone. In his search he uncovers a ghastly slave owner who is imprisoning and starving slaves. Of course, Ben himself is caught. What happens to Ben and those around him leads to solutions to both questions. It's an exciting read!
The Benjamin January series features an African American hero who was born in still-French Louisiana at the turn of the 19th century. His mother is the mistress of a plantation owner and his sister is following that path as well. Benjamin went to Paris to train as a doctor and returns to New Orleans only after the death of his beloved wife. This installment has him trying to solve a baffling murder while yellow fever is killing rich and poor all around him.
Interesting account of life in pre-Civil War New Orleans. Characters and story well developed. I highly recommend this book