When an elderly free woman of color is found murdered, there is some supposition that her death is connected to pirate Jean Lafitte's lost treasure. Since the police will do little, Benjamin January, who knew her as "Hellfire Hessy" when she was Lafitte's mistress, decides to investigate.

However, when a shipment of contraband rifles appears, he is distracted from the murder until he begins to suspect some connection between the two. He and Rose, the woman he loves, team up to search the bayous, dance halls and taverns where they find undercurrents in the slave community that lead them to the killer.

A raging hurricane, juxtaposed with the villain's violence, becomes a rising crescendo of suspense as WET GRAVE reaches its forceful climax. All lovers of historical fiction will enjoy WET GRAVE. Ms. Hambly knows her era, her characters, the society in which they live, their speech patterns, and most of all, the atmosphere of New Orleans, so well that you are quickly transported to this sultry city and the mysteries it holds. (Now available, 286 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin