Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Orleans Mourning

New Orleans Mourning by Julie Smith won the 1991 Edgar Award for best mystery novel. It was the first book in the Skip Langdon series.

from the book jacket:

Because of her connections at the highest social level of socially obsessed New Orleans, Policewoman Skip Langdon is assigned by her chief to investigate the murder of Chauncey St. Amant, who, in all his golden splendor as Rex, King of Carnival, has been shot to death during the Mardi Gras parade.

Skip approaches the assignment with very mixed feelings. She does know the Amants; Chauncey's daughter Marcelle was her schoolmate. She certainly has surer entree into the Boston Club society world than her fellow cops. But Skip knows that her colleagues resent her for that very reason, and she knows, too, that to the St. Amants and their kind, she is an outsider.

Early in the novel I felt like I was getting told too much about New Orleans through Skip explaining things to people not as familiar with the culture. There are also a huge number of named characters who are incidental to the plot. The language is colorful and the descriptions vivid, and I liked that, but this is not a character I like well enough to seek out other books in this series.

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