Die Upon a Kiss - Barbara Hambly

I am working my way through the entire series of Benjamin January novels; I find the recurring characters compelling and the mysteries are very interesting. Plus, they're set against the backdrop of Jacksonian New Orleans, which is a period I'm studying. It gives me a good feeling for the culture.

Anyway, this book takes place during Carnival in 1835. January is working in the orchestra at one of the two rival opera houses in town, as they prepare to mount an original production of Othello. To say that this is controversial during the time is to greatly understate the situation. In fairly short order January, his friend the ballet mistress, and other members of the cast are being attacked left and right -- a couple of them fatally. Naturally, January starts investigating.

The pacing lagged a little bit in this one. We got to see a lot of the politics of New Orleans opera, which was fine by me, but sometimes it felt disruptive to the other plots concerning a cruel slaver who might or might not also be a smuggler. There was one plot twist I didn't see coming at all, which explained a lot about one character's previous behavior. The whodunnit also took me by surprise, which is harder to do.

All in all, the book was pretty good. It just wasn't as gripping as the previous ones I've read.