Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Free Man of Color

By Barbara Hambly

Benjamin January is a free black man living in New Orleans in the 1830s, where he is a musician. He both teaches and plays music, and one night, while performing in the band at a Mardi Gras ball, a young woman is murdered. And since January was one of the last people to see and to speak to her, he is the number one suspect. The police are happy to blame a black man and are not continuing the investigation. So it is up to Benjamin January to clear his name, if he doesn't want to end up on the gallows.

This was an OK story. I found all the French names rather confusing and thus found it hard to keep track of the characters, especially as they had lots of different forms of their names. Like the main character is sometimes Benjamin, Ben, January, and Janvier. Also, I found the action didn't really pick up until almost the last, when January gets captured and imprisoned and has to escape and flee for his life and freedom. The last part of the book was much more exciting than what came before. So I liked the last part, but the rest was a little boring.

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