The Nubian’s Curse
A Benjamin January Historical Mystery
by Barbara Hambly
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Pub Date 02 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2023
A cursed statue . . . A haunted house . . . A seemingly supernatural death . . . The unexpected arrival of a friend from his past plunges musician, sleuth and free man of color Benjamin January into an old, unsolved case in this historical mystery set in New Orleans
"Outstanding . . . fastidious period detail, and a consistently surprising investigation" Publishers Weekly Starred Review
December 1840. Surgeon turned piano-player Benjamin January is looking forward to a peaceful holiday with his family. But the arrival of an old friend brings unexpected news - and unexpected danger.
Persephone Jondrette has found Arithmus: a Sudanese man with extraordinary mental abilities who January last saw in France, nearly fifteen years ago, during a ghost-hunting expedition to a haunted chateau. January and his friends survived the experience . . . but Arithmus' benefactor, the British explorer Deverel Wishart, did not. He was discovered dead one morning, his face twisted in horror, and shortly afterwards Arithmus vanished, never to be seen again.
Did Deverel succumb to the chateau's ghosts - or did Arithmus murder him and run away? January is determined to uncover the truth about the tragic incident from his past, and clear his old friend's name - but even he isn't prepared for what happens next . . .
The Nubian's Curse by NYT-bestselling author Barbara Hambly is the latest instalment of the critically acclaimed historical mystery series featuring talented amateur sleuth and free man of color, Benjamin January.
“This masterly portrayal of smoldering racial tensions deserves a wide readership”
Publishers Weekly Starred Review of Death and Hard Cider
“The historical backdrop is vivid, and the writing is exquisite. One of the best in a not-to-be-missed series”
Booklist Starred Review of Death and Hard Cider
“One of Hambly’s best mysteries combines historical detail, intense local color, and ugly truths about slavery and politics”
Average rating from 10 members
Recommending series books is always difficult because in manyu cases the reader should have read the earlier entries in the series. One of the things I have admired about Barbara Hambly’s Benjamin January series is that you can dip in and out of it but still thoroughly enjoy the story at hand. Hambly’s writing is evocative and her plotting exceptional, always.
The story here picks up some characters from Benjamin’s past in France, reminding him of some terrible times. As usualy, he is swept up into helping someone, leading to all sorts of adventures. Hambly blends Benjamin’s personal life with the “mystery” in each story, making his adventures totally part of his every-day life.
Recommended for fans of this series, but also for readers who enjoy historical mysteries featuring smart, strong Black men and women.
So nice to read about Benjamin January again! It's been awhile (for me) but it all came back. Great plot, as always, though sometimes hard to read for the intended) creepiness factor.
Barbara Hambly is an amazing storytelling. This book is #20 in the Benjamin January series. I had read a story of hers years ago and took a chance on this book.
The book plunges you into New Orleans society celebrations. Benjamin January, the main character, is a musician (and sleuth and has medical knowledge). I felt immersed in the culture of New Orleans, the good and bad. An old friend from Paris requests January's assistance when she sees him at a party. Together, they seek to find persons involved in a haunted house and mysterious death from their time in France. The danger arises again.
I loved the depth of the story. I always enjoy the history. I learned a lot about New Orleans society, the slave trade, and a little bit of voodoo. The characters were engaging and multifaceted. However, I was a little lost at times by the number of characters and how they connected to the story. I will definitely read previous books from this series.
Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for an ARC copy of the book.
I have read Barbara Hambly’s Fantasy books before (dragons) and really enjoyed her stories so I recognized her as an author.
I have not heard of this series before but boy am I glad I read this book. This is book 20 in a long going series which I fully intend to go back and read all 19 predecessors.
This is about Benjamin January is a Creole in 1850s New Orleans. He is a classically trained musician and trained in medicine.
Benjamin is enjoying his life in New Orleans when people from his past arrive in New Orleans bringing troubles from the past.
He had gone ghost hunting with them in Egypt and France. Mysterious death happens which remains unsolved.
The niece of his benefactor is part of the group that has arrived bringing with them memories Benjamin would rather forget.
There is savant character wrongfully enslaved, prince’s, plantations, voodoo and ancient Egyptian curses.
It all evolves into a complex and intriguing mystery of who killed the gross Crise who is a very bad man trying all kinds of tricks to steal artifacts and money while being horrible to women.
I really enjoyed this mystery. Thank you NetGalley for this ARC. All opinions are my own.