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Ran Away (Benjamin January #11)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  396 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
A Benjamin January mystery - RAN AWAY. So began a score of advertisements every week in the New Orleans newspapers, advertising for slaves who'd fled their masters. But the Turk, Huseyin Pasha, posted no such advertisement when his two lovely concubines disappeared. And when a witness proclaimed he'd seen the 'devilish infidel' hurl their dead bodies out of a window, every ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Severn House (first published December 2011)
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At an early point in this book I sort of poinged! and said aloud (to the great confusion of my co-workers), "Ayasha's book!"

Let me step back: this is not a prequel to the series, where Benjamin January, a free man of color, lives in nineteenth century New Orleans. But there is a frame to a fairly extensive flashback (which contains its own little mystery about a runaway girl), so this remains the rightful sequel to The Shirt on His Back.

I was excited to meet Benjamin's first wife, Ayasha, who's
This book felt like two separate stories with a very thin connection between them. The first hundred pages involve January's search for a missing girl in Paris ten years before, and we finally get to meet the living Ayasha, January's first wife.

We've had - what? - ten books that tell us of the deep love he had for this woman whose death drove him back to the land of his birth, a place he'd sworn never to visit again. His grief and yearning were as much a part of his character as the slow blossom
Jamie Collins
Another enjoyable book in this mystery series set in 1830’s New Orleans - except about a third of this one takes place 10 years earlier, when Benjamin Janvier is living in Paris and married to his first wife, the dressmaker Ayasha. It was very nice to read about their time together, and Benjamin’s lasting grief is poignant.

A rich Turkish man, a newcomer to New Orleans, is accused of murdering his two concubines. Benjamin knew the Turk in Paris (their mutual adventures are described in that long
Dec 19, 2011 Jacqie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Hambly is still at the top of her game in this addition to the much-loved Benjamin January series.

In this book, we get to "meet" Ayasha, Ben's first wife, for the first time. I wish I had seen more of her character than "feisty, but generous"- I'm sure living as a Berber immigrant in Paris could not have been easy for her. There's a lot more to Ayasha's story than we got here. We essentially have a pair of mysteries- a Turk in New Orleans has been accused of murdering his concubines and
Erin (PT)
Dec 13, 2011 Erin (PT) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another delightful outing from Hambly. I was explaining to a friend how I now read so many more new (to me) authors than I ever have, but so many of those books make me forget what a deep, abiding pleasure that reading can be. When I read Hambly, I always find that deeply absorbed, completely immersed pleasure again.

As well, Hambly's one of the few White authors who, to my mind, writes of other races and cultures with lucid mindfulness and a humanist empathy that seemed remarkable before I star
Dec 03, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are precious few of the Benjamin January books that I haven't fully adored. This one was not an exception but I don't think it was as drenched in its rendition of place as were some of the ones I've read previously. And I found it rather convoluted with regard to the mystery. But at long last, we find out about Ben's first wife, Aysha. While I adore Rose, I think that her character's reaction to the issues that her husband has regarding his first wife is not quite believable. Still, it was ...more
Marlene Banks
Jun 18, 2017 Marlene Banks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of my favorite Benjamin January mysteries. A bit slow and lagging in adventure like the others. The back and forth was a bit confusing because there weren't headline type indicators to prepare your mind. This story did have a good unusual plot; just needed more umph. Ms Hambly is such a good writer that it's a good read regardless.
Jun 23, 2017 Nilchance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was so good to finally meet Ayasha, after 10 books of Benjamin's stories about her. It added a depth and a wistfulness to the book that I really loved.
Eleanor With Cats
I stalled about 60 pages in for three years, after the *very* fast-paced opening. (Always nice to get the murder over with in the second paragraph!) It's a very dramatic opening, given that Ben has almost never spoken of Ayasha, his late first wife, in all of the previous ten books - and especially not in front of his intense and memorably spiky mother.

[Two and a half pages of text]
"I will not believe it," he went on quietly. "I know the man--"
"Nonsense, Benjamin, of course you don't."
"--and he
Jun 02, 2013 Dona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am such a fan of this series by Barbara Hambly. Her attention to detail, for me, is one of the hallmarks of her writing. Primarily set in 1840's New Orleans, Hambly describes the venue with such clarity and richness, that you can visualize the scene and smell odors permeating the air. If you have not followed the series or read the books in order, Hambly has a way providing the necessary background in a way that is natural and unobtrusive.

Book 11 of the series finds Benjamin seeking to clear t
Dec 08, 2011 dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: benjamin-january
i really enjoy the Benjamin January series. The writing is so crisp, the scenes devastatingly real. The matter-of-fact bigotry and hatred, the injustice of life for non-whites folded in - (perhaps like it was day-to-day living under such an unconscionable system). For instance: if a white man accuses a black man of anything - the latter is guilty unless he can find 2 (or was it 3?) white men who will say they were there and he is not guilty. Yeah, good luck with that.

The risk of a "free man of c
Jun 25, 2012 Kara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shirley Schwartz
I am a long-time favourite of Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January mysteries, and each one is stellar in its own right. With the last few books we have been getting glimpses into January's life while he was in Paris before he returned home to New Orleans. This book provides even more insight, and we see a whole bunch of new and interesting characters that we've only had glimpses of before such as his first wife Ayasha. And we have all the old friends that we have come to know and love like Hannibal ...more
This book was, again, a bit of a departure from previous novels. This time, we get to see a little more of Benjamin January's life in Paris, with his first wife (Ayasha). The backdrop is the so-called Sultan's Palace murders, which author Barbara Hambly uses as a way to let us into the world of Muslims during the Jacksonian era.

This time, we have an eyewitness claiming that Huseyin Pasha dropped two of the women from his harim out of an open second-story window in the French Quarter -- and Benja
Mar 13, 2013 Aimee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
I really like this series. Sometimes it falls into the same traps that many long mystery series do- repetitive plot points, stock characters, etc.- but I find myself enjoying each individual book. The world of Benjamin January is a fascinating one with many parallels to issues affecting the USA today.

This particular book features mysteries that take place in two different time periods: France in the 1820s and New Orleans in the 1830s. The two are tied together by the common thread of Benjamin J
The Book Breeze
Sep 04, 2014 The Book Breeze rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The old friend is Benjamin January, the African-American hero of Barbara Hambly's long-running series, whose past and present meet in Ran Away (Severn House, 2011,$15.95). When a Turkish visitor to New Orleans is the target of local prejudice and hatred, Benjamin recalls his training in Paris many years before, and the mysterious events that had led to his meeting with that same Turk, Huseyn Pasha. The Turk is accused of murder, and Benjamin vows to clear him of the charge. The sights, sounds, a ...more
Jun 19, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent series following the life of Benjamin January, a free man of color living in New Orleans shortly before and after the Louisiana Purchase. As more Americans move into New Orleans, the political and social climate changes considerably as well as his ability to live freely and safely. He makes money by playing music at the many balls thrown by the town's wealthy and he is often saving his many friends and acquaintances from being unjustly accused of crimes by investigating them ...more
Ran Away by Barbara Hambly is the 11th entry in her Benjamin January mystery series. This one has a rather odd structure. It’s like two novellas combined into one as we begin in “present-day” 1830s New Orleans with Benjamin January married to Rose and called upon to investigate the death of two Turkish concubines. Almost immediately, however, we enter into an extended flashback to the days when Ben was living in Paris and married to Ayasha. This flashback continues over half the book and is a co ...more
I was curious about this Benjamin January series by Hambly. This is the last in the series and I think I will read the first because it seems like a lot has happened in his life.

Anyway, interesting tale of Ben January who is a free man of color. The story starts in New Orleans and then the reader is taken back 10 years to the period when Ben was in France with his first wife. We learn a little bit of his life in France and how he maneuvered and met the main suspect of the mystery in New Orleans.
Sylvia Kelso
Jan 08, 2012 Sylvia Kelso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Up to the high standard of the previous books. Well researched and realised, some nasty twists and turns, a strong use of other-than-white-middleclass characters even in a historical background. I'm used to the delicate nuances of the 1830s New Orleans coloured society, but this moves on - or back, given the narrative structure - into Europe of the times - also including the other-than-white - and includes a fascinating look at the Turkish milieu of the period. A neat new dimension for January v ...more
Dec 17, 2011 Schweighsr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the latest, and in my opinion, one of the best of the Benjamin January mystery series. January is a free man of color in 1840s New Orleans, but his dark skin cause many to mistake him as a slave. Trained as a surgeon, January is forced to make a living as a musician as colored doctors are not prefered, even by other free colored people.

This adventure reunites January with an old aquaintance, Hüseyin Pasha a turk and a muslim who has been accused of murdering two of his concubines. There
Rebecca Huston
May 18, 2012 Rebecca Huston rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historical mystery fans
The exotic east comes to New Orleans when the newspapers report that the two concubines of the visiting Huseyin Pasha are found strangled and thrown out a window. No one is surprised at the brutality, for who knows what sort of evil a non-christian would get to? But Benjamin January knows better for he met the Pasha and his wives ten years earlier in Paris... This is a great read with plenty of backstory, some terrific observations about being a woman in a society that denies power to them, and ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this one, which explores muslim relationships, as well as including more detail on January's experiences in France. Ayasha - Benjamin's first wife - comes alive as well, from a perfect memory to an actual person. Hambly simply writes suburbly, evoking place and humanity, and the plotting remained within reasonable-to-follow ground (unlike the last couple).
The timing of this novel - which greatly explores the role of prejudice in detirmining how we understand muslim culture - is in
Sarah Haman
This takes place in both Paris and New Orleans in the early 1800s. During this time slavery is in existence, voodoo is a strongly held belief, the US has just bought the Louisiana Purchase. All these things lead to quite a mess when the concubines of a Turkish man are killed visibly by being thrown out his attic window.
Ah... and in Paris the "aristocrats" fight among each other as to who is more aristocratic - someone named by Bonaparte to the aristocracy, someone who fled during the revolution
Pamela Mclaren
Apr 13, 2013 Pamela Mclaren rated it really liked it
Another amazing mystery set in New Orleans just prior to the Civil War. Benjamin January, a free slave who returned to America after the death of his first wife in France, is remembering his past as he learns about the disappearance, and later murder of two concubines. January met the Turk, Huseyin Paha, accused of their deaths, in France; the man helped him save the life of his first wife and now he is driven to help the man.

As usual, Barbara Hambly tells a good solid story with believable char
This was another in the pretty good Benjamin January mystery series, starring a well bred African American doctor in the mid 1800s. This book is set both in Paris, when he was an expatriot married to a Middle Eastern woman and, decades later, in New Orleans where is he is now married to a woman scientist. I find the series somewhat improbable and underestimating of the barriers that existed back then, but it is still fun to read. Hambly competently deals with the idea of prejudice against Middle ...more
Champaign Public Library
This latest in the Benjamin January mystery series set in New Orleans in mid-1800 is an exceptionally good one! The whole series discusses the way French New Orleans was changing due to the friction between French, Spanish, American, free blacks, and slaves. The financial upheaval in America caused by President Andrew Jackson’s bank regulations is also part of the story line. Highly recommended!
Feb 14, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2 mysteries in one, involving Benjamin January (free black surgeon/musician) and Hussein Pasha, exiled Turk. The first, in 1827 Paris involves one of Hussein's concubines, and because of how at the end Hussein saves Benjamin's 1st wife, 10 years later in New Orleans, Benjamin refuses to believe that Hussein killed 2 of his concubines. Great character and really gets into the ambiance of both places.
Mz. Diana Gagliardi
Two different stories over two decades- we finally see what Ben's life was like in Paris and we see the same intolerance that we've seen being dealt with free colors and slaves the whole time only bringing religion and doing the work of God (the January's recently started as a stop on the infant Underground Railroad) without worrying about Catholics or Protestants.

The story itself was more scattered than normal, but still excellant and interesting :)
Eleanor Kuhns
May 11, 2012 Eleanor Kuhns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of Barbara Hambly for a long time. I started reading her SF and Fantasy titles but love her mysteries even more.
Wow, what a great book this one is. I love this series anyway and this one is even better than some of the titles that came before. I hope Barbara Hambly continues this series.
An intriguing and unusual setting, great characters and a captivating story. I would love to write so well!
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aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
More about Barbara Hambly...

Other Books in the Series

Benjamin January (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • A Free Man of Color (Benjamin January, #1)
  • Fever Season (Benjamin January, #2)
  • Graveyard Dust (Benjamin January, #3)
  • Sold Down the River (Benjamin January, #4)
  • Die Upon a Kiss (Benjamin January, #5)
  • Wet Grave (Benjamin January, #6)
  • Days of the Dead (Benjamin January, #7)
  • Dead Water (Benjamin January, #8)
  • Dead and Buried (Benjamin January, #9)
  • The Shirt on His Back (Benjamin January, #10)

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“If a Jewess from the East – her family comes from Cairo, I gather – were to find herself in need of help in Paris, where would she go?’ ‘To her family,’ replied ben-Gideon promptly. ‘I’m not sure she has one in Paris.’ ‘Benjamin, my mother spends eleven and a half hours out of twenty-four going from sister to sister, from aunt to aunt, from the houses of her sisters-in-law and second-cousins to the grandparents of my father’s old business-partners, lugging my sisters along with her, and what do you think they all talk about? Family.’ Ben-Gideon ticked off subjects with his fingers. ‘Who’s marrying whom. Who shouldn’t have married whom and why not. Who’s expecting a child and who isn’t bringing their children up properly. Oh, was she the one who married Avram ben-Hurri ben-Moishe ben-Yakov and is now operating that import business in Prague?  . . .  No, no, that was the OTHER Cousin Rachel who married Avram ben-Hurri ben-Moishe ben-CHAIM and THEY’RE in Warsaw, where THEIR son is a rabbi  . . .  Every rabbi from Portugal to Persia will tell you that women’s minds are incapable of the concentration required for study of the Torah, yet I guarantee you that not a single word of this lore is forgotten. You can drop any Jew over the age of seven naked in the dark out of a balloon anywhere in Europe, and he or she will locate family in time for breakfast.” 0 likes
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