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Benjamin January's search for a missing man takes him into a dark world filled with grave robbers and slave stealers. New Orleans, 1838.  When Benjamin January suddenly finds that his services playing piano at extravagant balls held by the city’s wealthy are no longer required, he ends up agreeing to accompany sugar planter Henri Viellard and his young wife, Chloë, on a mi Benjamin January's search for a missing man takes him into a dark world filled with grave robbers and slave stealers. New Orleans, 1838.  When Benjamin January suddenly finds that his services playing piano at extravagant balls held by the city’s wealthy are no longer required, he ends up agreeing to accompany sugar planter Henri Viellard and his young wife, Chloë, on a mission to Washington to find a missing friend. Plunged into a murky world, it soon becomes clear that while it is very possible the Viellards' friend is dead, his enemies are very much alive – and ready to kill anyone who gets in their way.


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Benjamin January's search for a missing man takes him into a dark world filled with grave robbers and slave stealers. New Orleans, 1838.  When Benjamin January suddenly finds that his services playing piano at extravagant balls held by the city’s wealthy are no longer required, he ends up agreeing to accompany sugar planter Henri Viellard and his young wife, Chloë, on a mi Benjamin January's search for a missing man takes him into a dark world filled with grave robbers and slave stealers. New Orleans, 1838.  When Benjamin January suddenly finds that his services playing piano at extravagant balls held by the city’s wealthy are no longer required, he ends up agreeing to accompany sugar planter Henri Viellard and his young wife, Chloë, on a mission to Washington to find a missing friend. Plunged into a murky world, it soon becomes clear that while it is very possible the Viellards' friend is dead, his enemies are very much alive – and ready to kill anyone who gets in their way.

30 review for Good Man Friday

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erin (PT)

    I kept meaning to write a longer review for this, but it's a week later and I haven't done it yet. Which is probably a good sign that I won't. Suffice it to say that, as a long time fan of Hambly and the Benjamin January series, I enjoyed this book a hell of a lot. As much as I really love the New Orleans milieu for the majority of the series, I am enjoying it just as much to see him travel...in this case to Washington (City now D.C.). I really love the historical facts with which she infuses he I kept meaning to write a longer review for this, but it's a week later and I haven't done it yet. Which is probably a good sign that I won't. Suffice it to say that, as a long time fan of Hambly and the Benjamin January series, I enjoyed this book a hell of a lot. As much as I really love the New Orleans milieu for the majority of the series, I am enjoying it just as much to see him travel...in this case to Washington (City now D.C.). I really love the historical facts with which she infuses her fiction as much as I adore her flights of fancy, as when (view spoiler)[she puts Edgar Allan Poe in the position of January's sidekick. (hide spoiler)] And even when I have a good idea where the central mystery is going (which is not always the case), the journey is so enjoyable that I never mind taking the trip. As well (and as mentioned in other reviews of the series, iirc), Hambly is one of the few authors who writes about a cultural experience that she's not privy to (in this case, a white woman writing about black slaves and free people of color) with all the thoughtfulness, nuance and empathetic humanity that I should want. I think she was less successful with this in the last of her vampire books, so it's nice to see a clear return to form.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    3.5 stars. In which Hambly is determined to show that in the year 1838, Washington D.C. is even more dangerous than New Orleans for a free man of color. Our hero Benjamin January is not only subject to repressive statutes and humiliating social restrictions, but he must also dodge a sinister gang of kidnappers who are snatching people to sell into slavery. The focus of this series is the struggle of an educated free black man to make a good life for himself in this time and place, and Hambly doe 3.5 stars. In which Hambly is determined to show that in the year 1838, Washington D.C. is even more dangerous than New Orleans for a free man of color. Our hero Benjamin January is not only subject to repressive statutes and humiliating social restrictions, but he must also dodge a sinister gang of kidnappers who are snatching people to sell into slavery. The focus of this series is the struggle of an educated free black man to make a good life for himself in this time and place, and Hambly does not treat the subject with a light hand. The book begins with a contrivance to get January into financial straits dire enough that he agrees to travel to Washington. His sister’s white protector and his bluestocking wife ask January to help them find a friend who has gone missing in that city. The mystery is nice enough, and the historical setting is captivating. Hambly’s prose is rich and atmospheric, as always. This is quite star-studded. Since he’s in Washington it’s perhaps understandable that January would meet several statesmen of the time (I would have enjoyed more scenes with John Quincy Adams) but it strains credulity when (view spoiler)[Edgar Allan Poe (hide spoiler)] involves himself in the mystery-solving shenanigans.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    There are a good many reasons why I loved this entry in the Benjamin January series. You're about to find out about some of them. Benjamin is asked to come along with Henri and Chloe Viellard on a trip to Washington, DC ... because Henri wants to bring his mistress, Dominique -- a free woman of color who is Benjamin's sister. Chloe has long been accepting of the relationship ... and she needs Henri to come along on the trip because her pen friend has disappeared, and she needs to find him. Women There are a good many reasons why I loved this entry in the Benjamin January series. You're about to find out about some of them. Benjamin is asked to come along with Henri and Chloe Viellard on a trip to Washington, DC ... because Henri wants to bring his mistress, Dominique -- a free woman of color who is Benjamin's sister. Chloe has long been accepting of the relationship ... and she needs Henri to come along on the trip because her pen friend has disappeared, and she needs to find him. Women did not travel alone in those days. So, the Viellards stay in a hotel, and Ben and Dominique stay in a boarding house ... where the only white guest is a small, quiet writer from Baltimore named Edgar Poe, who gladly helps with the search for Mr. Singletary, Chloe's friend. There's a sub-plot involving the development of baseball ... and one of the best players in town is freed by his master so that he can go play the game. The man is murdered the night before a big game, so now there's that mystery to solve as well. One of the things I liked best about this book, besides the well-constructed mysteries and the look at Washington politics during the Jacksonian era, is that we got to see Henri Viellard as more than just the chubby rich guy who keeps Dominique in fine style. His personality comes through, and he exhibits unexpected bravery in some tight situations. It was nice to see a little more character development, and I got a better idea of why Dominique loves him so much. There are only a few books left in this series, and I'm going to be very sad when I exhaust them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    My thoughts: • What I enjoyed most about this book and kept me interested was the description of what life was like for an enslaved and freed black person in 1836 Washington D.C. and pervasive slave trading and slave stealing occurred that the white residents did not even wince or seem to be bothered by the cruelty that happened on their doorsteps. • I have read most of the books in the series and have always enjoyed how the author seamlessly intertwines the historical landscape with a mystery to My thoughts: • What I enjoyed most about this book and kept me interested was the description of what life was like for an enslaved and freed black person in 1836 Washington D.C. and pervasive slave trading and slave stealing occurred that the white residents did not even wince or seem to be bothered by the cruelty that happened on their doorsteps. • I have read most of the books in the series and have always enjoyed how the author seamlessly intertwines the historical landscape with a mystery to be solved but this time the mystery did not seem to hold my attention.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jacqie

    For some reason, I just couldn't get into this one. I got lost in the names, places, and couldn't seem to focus on the mystery. The characters didn't draw me in as they usually do. Maybe it's just not the right book at the right time for me, since I usually do love this author. I should try again later. For some reason, I just couldn't get into this one. I got lost in the names, places, and couldn't seem to focus on the mystery. The characters didn't draw me in as they usually do. Maybe it's just not the right book at the right time for me, since I usually do love this author. I should try again later.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Schwartz

    Washington DC circa 1838. I always eagerly anticipate the next Benjamin January novel. He is absolutely one of my favourite historical sleuths and Ms. Hambly does such a wonderful job with her period and setting in these books. In this book Ben January goes to Washington DC with a well-to-do New Orleans white couple. He is accompanied by his younger sister Dominique and her entourage. They are on the trail of an elderly Englishman who has been missing since the previous fall. Ben finds a strange Washington DC circa 1838. I always eagerly anticipate the next Benjamin January novel. He is absolutely one of my favourite historical sleuths and Ms. Hambly does such a wonderful job with her period and setting in these books. In this book Ben January goes to Washington DC with a well-to-do New Orleans white couple. He is accompanied by his younger sister Dominique and her entourage. They are on the trail of an elderly Englishman who has been missing since the previous fall. Ben finds a strangely dark and dirty Washington even though it is the seat of government for the United States. And even though slavery is not legal in the north, he finds that slavery and all its moral indignities are still very much apparent. He finds himself in a world of slave dealers, grave robbers, international spies and morally bereft people. Danger is around every corner. But January being January, he manages to continue his investigation well below the radar of the various evil people that he comes across. There are lots of tense moments, but there are lots of heart-warming moments too as January is so very human. We are even introduced to a young Edgar Allan Poe in this book. Ms. Hambly brings him to life so convincingly. Her writing is so vivid and her period detail so realistic in every book in this series. And she does this while maintaining a tight plot and complex mysteries.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dona

    Well done Barbara Hamley! Well done! I would venture to say that this is her best Benjamin January yet. Benjamin is employed by Henri Viellard and his wife, Chloe, to travel to Washington City. to assist them in searching for a Mr. Singletary, an English gentleman who is missing. It is determined that they will be gone for three months, so Henri insists on taking Dominique, his mistress, and their daughter, Charmian. The adventure and intrigue that awaits Benjamin's entourage in Washington Cit Well done Barbara Hamley! Well done! I would venture to say that this is her best Benjamin January yet. Benjamin is employed by Henri Viellard and his wife, Chloe, to travel to Washington City. to assist them in searching for a Mr. Singletary, an English gentleman who is missing. It is determined that they will be gone for three months, so Henri insists on taking Dominique, his mistress, and their daughter, Charmian. The adventure and intrigue that awaits Benjamin's entourage in Washington City is well-crafted and keeps the reader engaged. Hambly's characters are real to the reader, and one wishes that the Octavia & Darius Trigg, who operate the house where Benjamin, Dominique, Charmian, and Therese stay, Mede Tyler, Edgar Poe (yes, the poet), Frank Preston, and Rev. Horace Perkins could come back to New Orleans with Benjamin. In aiding Henri and Chloe in their search for Mr. Singletary, Benjamin must be mindful of slave traders who kidnap free Blacks and sell them into slavery, consort with grave robbers, joins a baseball team, and rubs elbows with Washington City politician, including a former U. S. President. Good Man Friday is Barbara Hambly at her best.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hilari Bell

    I found Barbara Hambly though her fantasy novels, but I also like mysteries and her Benjamin January series is one of my favorites. Good Man Friday takes us to pre-Civil War Washington DC, where Republican abolitionists square off against the southern Democrats—which makes it even more dangerous to be a free man of color than it is in New Orleans! It also deals a lot with some of the most interesting secondary characters in the series, Ben’s sister Dominique, her long-time lover Henri, and Henri I found Barbara Hambly though her fantasy novels, but I also like mysteries and her Benjamin January series is one of my favorites. Good Man Friday takes us to pre-Civil War Washington DC, where Republican abolitionists square off against the southern Democrats—which makes it even more dangerous to be a free man of color than it is in New Orleans! It also deals a lot with some of the most interesting secondary characters in the series, Ben’s sister Dominique, her long-time lover Henri, and Henri’s wife Chloe. There’s an excellent mystery, and maybe even more important, a game of “town ball” for the honor of America, blacks vs. whites. (And a great line that I can’t find now, to quote exactly, where someone says something along the lines of, “No woman could possibly do something so cold-blooded.” And then says that they wouldn’t put too much money against Chloe doing it, and Ben says that his mother certainly would.) All in all, it’s one of the better books, in a really great series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andie

    This is the latest volume in Hambly's Free Man of Color mystery series. It is 1838 and the country is in the midst of a Depression & Benjamin January is worried about money since he has angered one of the richest men in New Orleans & seen all his piano playing jobs during Mardi Gras season disappear as a result. To help save his financial situation he isa offered a job helping his sister's "protector" finds a missing Englishman in Washington, DC. As usual, Hambly has impeccably researched both he This is the latest volume in Hambly's Free Man of Color mystery series. It is 1838 and the country is in the midst of a Depression & Benjamin January is worried about money since he has angered one of the richest men in New Orleans & seen all his piano playing jobs during Mardi Gras season disappear as a result. To help save his financial situation he isa offered a job helping his sister's "protector" finds a missing Englishman in Washington, DC. As usual, Hambly has impeccably researched both her time period and location, and the reader palpably feels the danger that Ben encounters in the nation's capital as he tries to avoid those who would kidnap free black people claiming that they are slave runaways and sell them to plantations back in the South. We also get to read about "town ball" (AKA baseball) which was just in the process of becoming the national pastime and plays a pivotal role in the story. The books in this series rarely disappoint and this one is no exception. I left this volume anxious for the next one to come.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Huston

    This time the action moves from New Orleans to Washington DC, as Benjamin with his sister Minou and the Viellards hunt for a missing man. But there are slave stealers, politicians and baseball to muddle up the story. Lots of good characters, plenty of twisty plot to chew on, and a very vivid depiction of America in the 1830's. Four stars overall, and very much recommended. For the longer review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/review/Barbar... This time the action moves from New Orleans to Washington DC, as Benjamin with his sister Minou and the Viellards hunt for a missing man. But there are slave stealers, politicians and baseball to muddle up the story. Lots of good characters, plenty of twisty plot to chew on, and a very vivid depiction of America in the 1830's. Four stars overall, and very much recommended. For the longer review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/review/Barbar...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    When people talk about the "good old days", they certainly aren't referring to life for blacks in the early 1800s. Whew, what a precarious life, even for free, educated blacks. This book was also an excellent mystery that was hard to put down. It was part of Hambly's Benjamin January series. When people talk about the "good old days", they certainly aren't referring to life for blacks in the early 1800s. Whew, what a precarious life, even for free, educated blacks. This book was also an excellent mystery that was hard to put down. It was part of Hambly's Benjamin January series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Choat

    I love Benjamin January stories, a freeman of color during slavery times. Always interesting

  13. 4 out of 5

    robyn

    Much to be treasured for a surprise appearance by none other than Edgar Allan Poe. I've no idea if it's realistic - there are only occasional places where he is portrayed in the brooding, melancholic vein we associate with him. But it's a sentimental winner, like the Doctor Who episode in which the Doctor picks up Vincent Van Gogh for a brief spell - knowing the future for these men, you wish someone could save them from themselves, and from an unappreciative world. Aside from that, a young Washi Much to be treasured for a surprise appearance by none other than Edgar Allan Poe. I've no idea if it's realistic - there are only occasional places where he is portrayed in the brooding, melancholic vein we associate with him. But it's a sentimental winner, like the Doctor Who episode in which the Doctor picks up Vincent Van Gogh for a brief spell - knowing the future for these men, you wish someone could save them from themselves, and from an unappreciative world. Aside from that, a young Washington! It's crazy to think this is how the capital started out. Young baseball, too. A good mystery, a chance to spend time with the Viellards, and a chance to see a different part of the country. I like being in New Orleans best, but seeing these characters out of their own place and reacting to the world outside of that strange little microcosm is interesting, and Hambly's ability to make history live again makes me want to see Benjamin in just about every state in the union before this series is over. This particular murder is probably one of the most affecting in the series, and this particular murderer somehow very repellent. It's a great installment.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Helenk

    This is a change of venue for Benjamin January, free man of color of New Orleans. He is a surgeon as well as an accomplished pianist. The time period is 1838-the Jacksonian era. Times are tough in New Orleans, so January agrees to accompany a sugar plantation owner—Henri Viellard and his wife to Washington DC to search for a missing friend. To add interest, Viellard’s placee—black mistress and his daughter are also a part of the entourage. Dominique is January’s sister. The color line is drawn m This is a change of venue for Benjamin January, free man of color of New Orleans. He is a surgeon as well as an accomplished pianist. The time period is 1838-the Jacksonian era. Times are tough in New Orleans, so January agrees to accompany a sugar plantation owner—Henri Viellard and his wife to Washington DC to search for a missing friend. To add interest, Viellard’s placee—black mistress and his daughter are also a part of the entourage. Dominique is January’s sister. The color line is drawn more strictly in DC soJanuary and Dominique must stay in a boarding house which welcomes people of color. Another boarder—the only white guest—Edgar Poe—who leaps into the group to help solve the mystery. The beginnings of baseball is occurring with high stakes betting. Many lines are drawn— French, American, English and free men of color. Slave catchers roam the area and if caught, the free men can be dumped back into slavery without much recourse. It is interesting to see how the title came about This is a great series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jane Irish Nelson

    Somehow I missed this when it first came out, so I was glad when I did come across it. I'm not sure I could call it enjoyable, given the time and place and mores thereof. Due to a depression in 1838, and lack of work in New Orleans, Benjamin January agrees to accompany his sister Dominique, her lover Henri Veillard , and his wife Chloe to Washington, DC, in search of a missing man Chloe Veillard had corresponded with all her life. But life there is very dangerous for a black man, even a free one Somehow I missed this when it first came out, so I was glad when I did come across it. I'm not sure I could call it enjoyable, given the time and place and mores thereof. Due to a depression in 1838, and lack of work in New Orleans, Benjamin January agrees to accompany his sister Dominique, her lover Henri Veillard , and his wife Chloe to Washington, DC, in search of a missing man Chloe Veillard had corresponded with all her life. But life there is very dangerous for a black man, even a free one. So Benjamin accepts the assistance of a Mr. Poe, a white man, staying in the same boarding house, to help in the research. He is also introduced to the game of Town Ball, which grew into baseball, and which plays a pivotal role in the plot. This is an absolutely fascinating view of just what life could have been like the nation's capital at that time, making it hard to put down. Highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Fischman

    I began reading this series before I started on Goodreads, so don't be fooled, this is one of many I've read. (Some day, I'll have to go back and mark them.) The central character, his struggle to be "a free man of color" in his era, and his relationships with family, friends, and authorities are the source of interest for me. The mystery aspect of the books is never the strongest appeal, and that holds true in this book. I was pleased that there was less on-stage brutality in this title than in I began reading this series before I started on Goodreads, so don't be fooled, this is one of many I've read. (Some day, I'll have to go back and mark them.) The central character, his struggle to be "a free man of color" in his era, and his relationships with family, friends, and authorities are the source of interest for me. The mystery aspect of the books is never the strongest appeal, and that holds true in this book. I was pleased that there was less on-stage brutality in this title than in some others in the series. When you care about someone, you don't want to see him struggling against death for pages and pages! Here's something I am still pondering: does the title character ring true? He's not a simple "I love my master" stereotype out of Lost Cause racist mythology. His feelings for the white man who is essentially his half-brother are complex. But are they real?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Nichols

    This is one of the most appealing long running historical series currently being written. Benjamin January is a one man course in the devastating effects of racial prejudice in the early 19th century. Here he goes to Washington, D.C.. and finds that the brutal anti-black discrimination he has experienced in London, Paris and New Orleans is alive and well in our nation's capital in 1838, especially in the midst of a serious recession. Barbara Hambly places the reader in the heart of the fascinati This is one of the most appealing long running historical series currently being written. Benjamin January is a one man course in the devastating effects of racial prejudice in the early 19th century. Here he goes to Washington, D.C.. and finds that the brutal anti-black discrimination he has experienced in London, Paris and New Orleans is alive and well in our nation's capital in 1838, especially in the midst of a serious recession. Barbara Hambly places the reader in the heart of the fascination with science, ghastly practices for "curing" the mentally ill, and the growing enthusiasm for Town Ball, what we now know as baseball. She gives us one of the most charming pictures of Edgar Allen Poe I have ever read. This is a great read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kkraemer

    This is a mystery set in pre-war Washington DC. The detective, the son of a white man and his African American mistress, is a European-trained surgeon and musician and a free man, and he belongs to that special class known in and around New Orleans known to be both educated and sophisticated but still limited by their heritage. He struggles, at times, to keep his household living well, so acquiesces to the request of a white man to track down a friend who went to DC and, quite simply, disappeared This is a mystery set in pre-war Washington DC. The detective, the son of a white man and his African American mistress, is a European-trained surgeon and musician and a free man, and he belongs to that special class known in and around New Orleans known to be both educated and sophisticated but still limited by their heritage. He struggles, at times, to keep his household living well, so acquiesces to the request of a white man to track down a friend who went to DC and, quite simply, disappeared. The story, then is of the investigation, with twists and turns and, finally, a satisfying ending. Like all mysteries, the world of that place and time is revealed, a world of peculiar limitations and rules of society because of the detective's heritage and beltway insider intrigue.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Well-written and violent: the usual Benjamin January. I like Hambly's Edgar Allan Poe, who's not presented as a neurotic master of horror (though we do get a number of mentions of ravens), but as an intelligent man interested in everything, who needs to write. Hambly's portrayal of 1830s DC is memorable and realistic; in 1844, a boy described it as "scattered about, and looks like a great city broken into a great many pieces." While a character reads the New York Times about 20 years before it w Well-written and violent: the usual Benjamin January. I like Hambly's Edgar Allan Poe, who's not presented as a neurotic master of horror (though we do get a number of mentions of ravens), but as an intelligent man interested in everything, who needs to write. Hambly's portrayal of 1830s DC is memorable and realistic; in 1844, a boy described it as "scattered about, and looks like a great city broken into a great many pieces." While a character reads the New York Times about 20 years before it was published, the setting is vivid and feels right, and Benjamin's struggles in a racist country are powerful and believable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    I love Barbara Hambly's writing, and this twelfth entry in her Benjamin January series is both a solid addition to those mysteries and an able stand-alone, suitable for someone new to the books. In this novel, January -- a free man of color in the pre-Civil War United States -- travels to Washington, D.C. to help track down a missing and vulnerable man. D.C. politics, the infant form of baseball, the slave trade, and Edgar Allan Poe all have a role to plan in the story. The mystery is satisfying I love Barbara Hambly's writing, and this twelfth entry in her Benjamin January series is both a solid addition to those mysteries and an able stand-alone, suitable for someone new to the books. In this novel, January -- a free man of color in the pre-Civil War United States -- travels to Washington, D.C. to help track down a missing and vulnerable man. D.C. politics, the infant form of baseball, the slave trade, and Edgar Allan Poe all have a role to plan in the story. The mystery is satisfying, and the sense of place and time deftly drawn.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Peggi Warner-lalonde

    The Benjamin January books are not easy reads, but they are rewarding. The life that he would have led in those days is unimaginable today, and, yet, not so far from what is actually happening in society today. This is a sad testament to our progress, or rather lack thereof. January travels to Washington to assist in the search for a missing man, and his wisdom and common sense win out in the end.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. A.A. Williams

    An interesting read Benjamin January is seeking a missing person but becomes involved in murder and fraud in America's deep South. The characters are very real both the good and the bad and the details of life for black slaves are well described and of particular current interest. It is a mixture of American history and mystery, fast paced and exciting. An interesting read Benjamin January is seeking a missing person but becomes involved in murder and fraud in America's deep South. The characters are very real both the good and the bad and the details of life for black slaves are well described and of particular current interest. It is a mixture of American history and mystery, fast paced and exciting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    I always enjoy Barbara Hambly's writing, no matter what genre it is. Benjamin January mysteries are a favorite though. This one was especially enjoyable as it is set in DC and I lived the area for 9 years. Fun to imagine what it may have looked like back then, with buildings that were still there when I was. Also, the murder mystery is always fun to try to figure out! I always enjoy Barbara Hambly's writing, no matter what genre it is. Benjamin January mysteries are a favorite though. This one was especially enjoyable as it is set in DC and I lived the area for 9 years. Fun to imagine what it may have looked like back then, with buildings that were still there when I was. Also, the murder mystery is always fun to try to figure out!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anelie

    While I enjoyed the book, I saw the solution coming well before the end. I found some parts interesting and others less interesting. I did enjoy the main character so I may try another in the series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nilchance

    I felt the absence of Rose, Hannibal and Shaw in this roadtrip story, but it was good to spend time with Ben and to see more of Chloe, Henri and Dominique. The mystery was gripping and tense. Good stuff.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    The action (and a significant household of friends and relations) moves to Washington D.C. in search of a missing man who most of the characters only know through correspondence. Life was awfully complicated in slavery times and not just for slaves.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Benjamin January is one of my favorite literary characters. He's a complex man living in difficult times and tries to live a moral life in an immoral world. This book ranks with the best of the series in that it is both an excellent historical novel in addition to a good mystery. Benjamin January is one of my favorite literary characters. He's a complex man living in difficult times and tries to live a moral life in an immoral world. This book ranks with the best of the series in that it is both an excellent historical novel in addition to a good mystery.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aimee

    Although Hambly occasionally falls into the trap of using the same descriptions and phrasing as previous books in the series, I really enjoyed this book overall. I don't know much about the time period in question, so the DC setting provided an interesting view of the US in the 1830s. Although Hambly occasionally falls into the trap of using the same descriptions and phrasing as previous books in the series, I really enjoyed this book overall. I don't know much about the time period in question, so the DC setting provided an interesting view of the US in the 1830s.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Viridian5

    I found this to be a good and interesting read, though I was more interested in the historical setting, the characters, and the many dangers January faces as a man of color than I was in the mystery.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Story moved slower than a turtle... too much blah blah blah not enough storyline

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