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Days of the Dead (Benjamin January #7)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  619 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
The author of "Wet Grave" who "continues to delight readers with her sensuous evocation of New Orleans" provides another sumptuous feast in the series the "New York Times" hails as "a masterly piece of historical storytelling."
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Bantam Books (first published 2003)
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Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: benjamin-january
Whenever i finish a Benjamin January tale i feel like i’ve consumed so much more than a finely woven, well articulated mystery - i also have so much fun looking up all the stuff i didn’t know about the time and place.
Have you ever (as i have multiple times) asked yourself, or the world in general - “Why Chihuahuas?” i love dogs - all animals actually, but chihuahuas? They’re yappy, nippy, edgy not particularly furry, demanding, too small for protection or warmth… Now we know why sweet harmless d
Jamie Collins
2.5 stars. It was nice to spend time with Benjamin, Rose and Hannibal again, and this novel was as well written as all of Hambly's work, but this isn't one of my favorites in this series. After the events of the previous book I was eager to see how their lives in New Orleans would change, but instead this book takes place in Mexico, where Hannibal has been living with his opera singer.

It's 1835, and we get to meet Santa Anna and hear all about the Texas Revolution. Meanwhile Hannibal has been ac
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm working my way through the entire Benjamin January series. So far, I've enjoyed them all. This one is a little bit different, though. It takes place in Mexico, instead of in New Orleans, and deals with the politics of General Santa Anna's government and the events leading up to the Texas wars.

January's friend Hannibal Sefton has been living in Mexico with a woman he met ... and writes a letter talking about how circumstances have changed. To make a long story short, he's being held captive b
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

And now for something completely different.

Benjamin January leaves all the murder and mayhem of New Orleans to head for Mexico City where his friend Hannibal is accused of poisoning a Mexican aristocrat.

It’s an interesting shift of gears for January – there is still danger, yes, and lots of it, with madmen, politicians, bandits, and ill-tempered French cooks lurking around every corner, but January is in the kind of danger that could attack anyone, like an illness, rather than a specific danger
Apr 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book, while extremely well written, didn't have the impact of the other books in the series. I felt it dealt well with Hannibal, who is dying of Tuberculosis (consumption) but the other characters didn't feel as well rounded or as accurate as usual.

A desperate letter from Ben’s friend Hannibal leads to a case in Mexico, with Rose pursued by the Don as her beloved Ben works to find the truth behind the murder of the Don’s son and heir. This story touches on homosexuality, addiction, and the
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the seventh Benjamin January mystery, and follows the excellent Wet Grave. This entry follows the adventures of free-man-of-color Benjamin January as he and his new wife, Rose, travel to Mexico in an attempt to rescue their old friend Hannibal, who has been accused of murder. In the course of the book, we learn a lot about Mexico of the 1830's and the cultural clashes within. It's a period rich in drama and the author mines it beautifully to provide a dense backdrop to the smaller story ...more
Ashley W
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in the 1830s in Mexico, Benjamin's friend is accused of a murder he didn't commit, so January and his wife Rose, come to Mexico from New Orleans to save him and find the true murderer before the end of the Days of the Dead.

Usually when I read mysteries, I guess the murderer after about the first page, and then I get bored, but I loved this one. It was thrilling, informative, and the main character, a free black man named Benjamin January, was pretty darn awesome. It was hard to guess "Whodu
Sylvia McIvers
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction, especially by authors who I trust to take time to do the research. In Days of the Dead, Barbra Hambly takes her hero, Benjamin January, to Mexico. Is the research as thorough as her stories that took place in the deep south? I haven’t read widely enough about Ye Ancient Mexico to know that. However, it is a great read.

Newly rich Benjamin and his wife Rose travel to Mexico to save their friend Hannibal the musician from being hanged for a murder he didn’t do. But in a l
Text Addict
Benjamin and Rose January travel to Mexico to (try to) rescue their friend Hannibal Sefton, who's gotten into a jam. First, he was made an unwilling semi-permanent guest at the hacienda of his paramour's father; then, he's accused of murdering his host's son. The evidence appears damning, but it's also absurd to think that Hannibal would kill anyone.

As always, Hambly richly evokes the historical period and landscape. Mexico in the 1830s was, to put it bluntly, an economic and political mess, and
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy the Benjamin January books by Barbara Hambly and I think Benjamin himself is a well rounded and interesting enought character to support this series. However, Days of the Dead was one of my least favorite of this series. While Hambly writes with her usual attention to historical detail, there are some problems with this book. Ben, his wife Rose, and friend Hannibal seem a little lost out of Louisiana and plopped down in this plot that takes place in Mexico, where many of the chara ...more
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2010, historical
After the last book, I was skeptical this series could go anywhere...but this book was a *very* pleasant surprise. Or, as I texted a friend, "It's set in Mexico and they brought back my favorite character! Squee!!!"

Hannibal is back, and in trouble. Locked room mystery, all evidence points to Hannibal, only Ben can get him out. He brings along Rose, because why not? There's also a mad patrón, excessive religiosity, buckets of family drama, and Santa Anna, presumably because she could. Which made
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An historical novel of suspense, Days of the Dead is rich with detail of life in Mexico City and its outlying haciendas during the tumultuous days of 1835 with Santa Anna as both President and General of its army ready to march on Texas for what will become the Battle of the Alamo. This novel is 6th in a series featuring an intriguing character, Benjamin January. I have already ordered the first in this series so I can fill in the background of this well-written man and most likely will follow t ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't read any books from this series for some time and was pleased to see it available on ebook from the library. Unlike previous books in this series, this one was set in and around Mexico City, where January and his wife go to help their friend Hannibal Sefton, who has been accused of murder. The mystery of who actually killed the son of a mad Mexican nobleman is involving and has a rather surprising conclusion, but what I especially liked was the historical Mexican background during the 1 ...more
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I look forward to Benjamin January mysteries and read about one a year - but this one didn't do it for me. I was bored, never did fully understand the tangled mess of relationships and dozens of characters and who was allied with who and who wanted what, and found the mystery itself contrived, and the writing occasionally unnecessarily foreshadowing events that did not need to be foreshadowed so aggressively to make me keep reading.

From the reviews on goodreads, it looks like the next one is se
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Generally I absolutely love the Benjamin January mysteries, but unfortunately this one felt more like a chore to read and I found myself reluctant to pick it up and make any progress reading it. I'm not even quite sure why, other than the fact that there are many, many characters to keep track of, along with their back stories and family history, which just made this book confusing. It was interesting to see Ben, Rose, and Hannibal in a new setting and exploring Mexico, but otherwise this one ju ...more
Aug 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010booksread
This may be my least favorite of the Benjamin January books so far. But then again, I did enjoy it. It's the first book not set in Louisiana. Instead it's set in Mexico. The setting was interesting, especially having Santa Anna as a character in the time right before he went to Texas to fight. The part of the book that really didn't work for me was the mystery. The author does her best to confuse and obscure the truth, but I saw it all coming way, way before the characters had any inkling. So mo ...more
Naomi Blackburn
May 19, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition it just me?? This book just did not rock my socks off. I loved the first book by this author and jumped at this one when I determined that it fit into a challenge I am doing, but I didn't warm up to this one as I did the first in the series. I found the book to drag on with characters that were bland..totally unexpected coming from a Mexican setting where I thought the seeting would have it hot, spicy and mysterious. Instead, I found myself rushing through the book to get it finished fo ...more
Rebecca Huston
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: louisiana
Another grand entry in the series, this time with Benjamin and his new bride Rose hurrying off to Mexico to keep Hannibal from hanging for murder. A neat change of venue, but the shift doesn't down grade the book at all. Very much recommended for fans of the series.

To see the longer review, please go here:
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
With these books, the worldbuilding and characters always top the mystery itself, but I thought several aspects of the plot were refreshing and unusual. That being said, I felt like the story could've used some streamlining, but that's not really the point of these books, for better or worse. I enjoyed the glimpse into Benjamin and Hannibal's friendship as well, but I was rather disappointed that we didn't get any reveal about Hannibal's past history.
John Park
Murder mystery. Colourful and quite clever; interesting setting (Mexico city under Santa Anna on the eve of the Alamo). Maybe too many characters. Some editorial glitches (e.g. in one of the action scenes January enters with a pistol in his hand but the first thing he does is break a man's arm; did he drop the pistol?). Emotionally flat.
Aug 17, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I never finished this book. I really enjoyed other books in this series. I'm not sure why I couldn't stay with it, but I just had no interest in what happen at all, so I just put it down and picked up another book. I'll probably sell it used if I can. I would give it away, but I really can't recommend it, and I really liked all the other books by this author.
Once again Hambly provides another great opportunity to learn some history! I was abit overwhelmed with all the Mexican names/cast of characters, thus the 3.5 star rating. I did learn alot about our 'south of the border' history in this 7th installment of her 'Benjamin January' series. This is a wonderful series, but I wouldn't consider it an 'easy' read!
Karl K
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Surprising book. Turns out this author was on a list of recommended mystery writers. To my surprise, I found this book in a mystery, mystery book bag from our local friends of library sale.
The story was good. But I found the book a bit tedious. It seemed like a story line that went round and round.
Carol Louise
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Benjamin January mystery takes a departure - from New Orleans - to be set in Mexico, where Ben and Rose go to try to rescue Ben's consumptive, fiddle-playing, Anglo-Irish friend Hannibal Sefton. (So glad to get him back). Magic, here, gets a little out of hand.
This was just not my type of book. I don't have much background knowledge about Mexico in the 1830's and I felt like it just dragged on and on and I the characters were really bland. I read it for a challenge and it wasn't anything I would have picked on my own. 2 stars.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, series
The middle was too slow and sometimes seemed populated with characters who later turned out to be superfluous to the plot. I did like the uniqueness of the main characters and the climax was effective--just had to navigate excessive scenery to get there.
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one's set in Mexico. There were too many characters for me to keep track of, but as always, the writing is beautiful, and always historically accurate. This series needs to ideally be read in order, but this novel stands alone, as well.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm. While the Mexican setting is well-executed and the historical detail good as always, this one dragged a bit for me. I think taking Benjamin out of New Orleans and its environs just doesn't quite work.
Marlene Banks
Again Hambly weaves a tale full of rich detail. This time Benjamin January goes to Mexico. It was nice the story took place outside of New Orleans but it seemed to drag. This was not like the previous ones. Although a good story, it lost my interest a few times. Still, it was a good read.
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the only one of her books so far that I haven't been head over heels in love with - I think generally because it's set in Mexico City and most of the proper nouns stuck on my brain. (I don't speak Spanish so I didn't know how to pronounce them so I kept getting hung up.)
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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 15 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)
  • Dead Water (Benjamin January, #8)
  • Dead and Buried (Benjamin January, #9)
  • The Shirt on His Back (Benjamin January, #10)
  • Ran Away (Benjamin January, #11)

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