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New Orleans Mourning (Skip Langdon, #1)
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New Orleans Mourning (Skip Langdon #1)

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  2,284 Ratings  ·  218 Reviews
It's Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and civic leader and socialite Chauncy St. Amant has been crowned Rex, King of Carnival. But his day of glory comes to an abrupt and bloody end when a parade-goer dressed as Dolly Parton guns him down. Is the killer his aimless, promiscuous daughter Marcelle? Homosexual, mistreated son Henry? Helpless, alcoholic wife Bitty? Or some unknown p ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 25th 1990 by Fawcett
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Mar 04, 2009 Joyce added it
Shelves: librarybook
Re-reading this Edgar Award winner made me nostalgic for the 1990's. As part of the cultural ascendency of my own grumpy, surly, suspicious Gen X -- along with grunge and Riot Grrls -- there was a boom in mysteries with strong, independent, not particularly feminine female protagonists. Nowadays every new series written by a woman seems to feature a young, beautiful vampire... but 20 years ago, it was all about the lone female protagonist who worried about whether having any kind of human relati ...more
New Orleans Mourning is one of the relatively rare Edgar Best Novel winners that I had already read, shortly after its publication. I've gone on to read all Smith's New Orleans books; for some reason, I didn't get into her earlier San Francisco-based series.

Rereading the first book in a long-running series is a bit like reconnecting with an old friend, but it's also a bit like time travel. In this first book, Skip Langdon, Smith's protagonist, is still feeling her way as a police officer and as
Oct 28, 2015 Scot rated it it was ok
Okay, I like the pun in the title, and I love the setting. I have been lucky enough to have to go to NOLA on business twice in the last year, and I had wonderful times there (as I always inevitably do). so I was excited to revisit the French Quarter in particular in this novel, and was pleased to get an insider’s insights into the class system there and the rules and traditions of Mardi Gras.

However, I just couldn’t come to care for the main character, Skip Langdon. She is presented to us as the
Denise Link
Mar 10, 2010 Denise Link rated it did not like it
It may not be fair for me to rate this book, because I didn't get very far into it before I gave it up. By a few chapters in, I didn't care about any of the characters and actively disliked most of them. I didn't care at all who killed the guy. The roving first-person POV was not done well, so instead of being interested enough to sort out whose head I was in, I was just confused. PERHAPS if one was from NOLA or really a cultural insider, one might enjoy being part of the "in group" and understa ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Gail rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was full of miserable, unlikeable characters. I don't think I'll be reading the next in the series; too many good books to read!
Oct 26, 2014 Jon rated it liked it
I like the author. I like the lead character Skip Langdon. And, of course, I love NOLA. So I'm a happy camper. This was #1 in the series, so I went back to the beginning. I'm now reading book #2.
Jay Williams
Apr 04, 2016 Jay Williams rated it it was amazing
After reading a later book in this series I decided I wanted to start at the beginning, and I'm so happy that I did. This book is written in a lush style that beautifully captures the essence of New Orleans. The psychological makeup of all the principal characters is portrayed in great detail while adding to the progress of the story. Even a person who has never experienced New Orleans will appreciate the atmosphere developed as the story progresses. Having experienced the New Orleans of the 80s ...more
Jan 11, 2017 Bob rated it liked it
The first of the Skip Langdon series set in New Orleans has Skip as a regular new cop assigned to the Homicide squad because of her connections to the murdered King of the Carnival. The plot is rife with the lives and machinations of some of the most prominent citizens and Skip as the daughter of the doctor of many of these people has somewhat of a friendship with some and is at least known to others. Twists abound as she works the clues and is barley accepted by the two detectives she is workin ...more
May 09, 2015 Allison rated it it was ok
Well written and an interesting story but not exactly the cozy mystery I thought I was getting. I really didn't like Skip as a character. Come to think of it, none of the characters in this, with the exception of Steve, had any redeeming value at all. I wasn't sad or upset over the deaths of any of the people and the ones who were left didn't give me anything to grieve over either. Just a bunch of sad, social climbers with nothing better to do than perpetuate old social mores. And the ending. Do ...more
Marilyn Groves
I'm not rating this one because it wouldn't be fair. I made it less than 10% into the book.

Perhaps I don't have enough interest about New Orleans, or care enough about the Mardi Gras history or events, but not even the characters introduced captured my attention enough to continue.

Jul 21, 2008 WK rated it really liked it
I was expecting more from this book because I knew it had won the Edgar Award. I gave it 4 stars just in case the 3 I wanted to give it was misguided by over expectations. It a good mystery, but I was hoping for Great and didn't get it. But don't let my judgment prevent you from trying it, I also don't agree with 8 out of 10 Pulitzer Prise winning selections.
Jan C
Dec 18, 2012 Jan C rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, south
This was an enjoyable book. Matter of fact, this was one I read twice. It wasn't until I was halfway in that I remembered that I had read it before. i knew I liked the character of Skip Langdon but had forgotten the title.
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
I really cannot recall this book, but what I wrote back in 2008: good mystery, featuring New Orleans police officer Skip Langdon, as well as the city of New Orleans. The King of Mardi Gras is murdered in plain sight, and Skip is called on to help, as she is from a family in the same social class as the victim. Lots of possibles, a cast of many. The wife, the son, the old family friend, the bastard daughter? Interesting local color.
Tina Alosa
Jan 10, 2017 Tina Alosa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New Orleans is a starring character

So many twists and turns in this story. Just when I thought AhHa! another piece would fall into place, proving my theory wrong again. Great mystery, but getting to know some pre Katrina details of this city was just as satisfying. Can't wait to visit Skip again.
Joyce McKune
Murder on Fat Tuesday.

Skip was on parade detail when king Rex was shot on his float right in front of her. She saw someone in a Dolly parton costume on the balcony holding pistols.
John Brissette
Fun little read as the skip Langdon books always are. New Orleans provides a natural setting for drama even if it does sometimes get a bit cliche. But a great read for beach or pool.
Masayuki Arai
May 18, 2017 Masayuki Arai rated it it was ok
weird family
May 09, 2017 Jewett rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
A good read - good characters and an interesting look at the "society" people in New Orleans.
Carol A Chase
Slow going but an okay read.

The story moved very slow and I was ready to put it down at times. However, I kept reading and was rewarded with a good finish! I will read more of Smith's books.
Donna McBroom-Theriot
May 25, 2012 Donna McBroom-Theriot rated it it was amazing
The author began the book with a prologue about the history of Carnival, which I thought was quite interesting. Having been raised just outside of the city, and living in Southern Louisiana my entire life, I have to confess to never having studied or researched the beginning of a tradition so large, that the entire Southern half of the state declares it a holiday. Some even think Carnival – known as Mardi Gras – to be bigger than Christmas.

I have included some of the history on my blog where
Peggy White
Feb 28, 2017 Peggy White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Story

Excellent story with twist and turns with an ending very unexpected. Couldn't put the story down. A great read for anyone
Jan 06, 2017 Cynthia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-read
was a fun read, but wouldnt read it again or the other parts.
Feb 24, 2017 Lagniappe rated it it was amazing
As a lifelong New Orleanian I am often hesitant to read books set in NOLA because they are usually so badly researched that I don't even recognize the place. This one (as well as the other books in this series) is the happy exception. I was born and raised in the Uptown circles that Ms. Smith writes about, and all I can say is - she nailed it! Add to that a great story with a likeable protagonist and a solid mystery that will keep you guessing until the end and you have a fantastic read. I highl ...more
Randee Baty
New Orleans has always seemed to me to have an atmosphere all its own that feels foreign and exotic even though it’s part of the United States. Julie Smith does a good job of recreating that atmosphere in New Orleans Mourning, the first book in the Skip Langdon series and the 1991 Edgar Award Winner.

Skip Langdon grew up among the upper classes of New Orleans though she wasn’t exactly one of them. Her parents were social climbers, her father being doctor to most of the New Orleans aristocracy. Sk
Aug 28, 2012 Natalie rated it it was amazing
The French Quarter during Mardi Gras is chaos. The streets are a sensory assault of sounds of music and revelers and colors of garish costumes. So who would notice a man dressed like Dolly Parton in the midst of all the bedlam? No one, unless Dolly decides to shoot and kill the Rex, King of Carnival, from a balcony while he rides by on the parade float.

Enter Skip Langdon. Born and raised in Uptown New Orleans, she got out as soon as she legally could, but for some reason the Quarter called her h
Nov 20, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
This is the first in the Skip Langdon series. This first book was published in 1990. So, there is no modern technology involved in solving the case, just good old fashioned leg work.
Chauncey St. Amants, the King of the Carnival, is killed during the Mardi Gras parade by someone dressed as Dolly Parton.
Having grown up in the same circles as the upper-crust family , the St. Amants, Skip Langdon is assigned to homicide for a little while so she can get a little insider gossip.
Skip has gone against
Feb 21, 2017 Jeanne rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book! It gives an excellent insight into the structure of Mardi Gras, the krewes and how they function, all the while offering an excellent mystery.
Apr 01, 2016 Doris rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, romance
This was an interesting book, especially since it is almost 2 decades old. I found the look back to be refreshing and, given the damage the river city has taken in the ensuing time, it was a snapshot of history.

I had trouble accepting the main character as either a strong female or a sexy woman, as she continually derided herself, as did the other characters, as fat, oversized, bulky, ugly and sloppy. Okay, those traits as not necessarily bad, but when you whine, it makes you look bad, so the ch
Barbara M
Totally confusing at first when the author introduces a bunch of characters in one chapter and it's hard to tell what their relationship is with each other. That chapter is also full of information on Mardi Gras and the krewes, etc. These things get straightened out when King Rex is shot from the balcony of his best friend during the parade by someone dressed as Dolly Parton.

Skip Langdon is fairly new to the police force but she's brought in on the homicide because she and her family are among
Debbi Mack
Oct 14, 2009 Debbi Mack rated it really liked it
For readers who enjoy tough female detectives, Skip Langdon fits the bill. She's the protagonist in NEW ORLEANS MOURNING, born to a couple on the Crescent City's social register, though she's rejected their ways in favor of becoming a cop. Not at all your conventional Southern Belle, Skip's a tall and large-boned woman and a mass of neuroses, who just doesn't fit into the whole New Orleans society mileau.

Although Skip's just a city beat cop when the story opens, she has ambitions of making detec
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Author of 20 mystery novels and a YA paranormal adventure called BAD GIRL SCHOOL (formerly CURSEBUSTERS!). Nine of the mysteries are about a female New Orleans cop Skip Langdon, five about a San Francisco lawyer named Rebecca Schwartz,two about a struggling mystery writer named Paul Mcdonald (whose fate no one should suffer) and four teaming up Talba Wallis, a private eye with many names, a poetic ...more
More about Julie Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Skip Langdon (10 books)
  • Axeman's Jazz (Skip Langdon, #2)
  • Jazz Funeral (Skip Langdon, #3)
  • Death Before Facebook (Skip Langdon, #4)
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  • The Kindness of Strangers (Skip Langdon, #6)
  • Crescent City Kill (Skip Langdon, #7)
  • 82 Desire (Skip Langdon, #8)
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  • Meet Skip Langdon: Two Mystery Short Stories: Always Othello and The End Of The Earth

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