Book Review

by Barbara Hambly

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Mystery, Historical

RT Rating

In 1830s New Orleans, freed slave Benjamin January and his wife Rose barely make a living running a school that Rose has established. Bank manager Hubert Granville informs them that his manager, Oliver Weems, has absconded with the bank's money, which includes $4,000 the Januarys deposited.

Granville hires Rose and Benjamin
to recover the stolen money by following Weems as he travels up the Mississippi
on the Silver Moon steamboat, where Granville believes the money is hidden. With the assistance of Englishman Hannibal Sefton, who poses as his master, Benjamin takes on the role of a slave as
he and Rose join the passengers aboard
the steamship.

When Weems' body is discovered entangled in the boat's paddlewheel, there is no shortage of suspects, includ-ing the victim's very devious fiancée,
but Benjamin and Hannibal become
the prime suspects. Hambly brings early steamboat travel alive, with all its sights, sounds and perils. Suspenseful and complex, this novel portrays the gritty reality of life in the pre-Civil War South. (Aug., 297 pp., $25.00)

Reviewed By: Sheri Melnick

Publisher: Bantam

Published: August 2004

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