Author: Barbara Hambly
Series Title: Benjamin January Mysteries
Individual Titles: A Free Man of Color, Fever Season, Graveyard Dust, Sold Down the River, Die Upon a Kiss, Wet Grave, Days of the Dead
Those who only know Hambly from her sci-fi work (I believe she's done quite a few Star Trek
novelizations) will be mightily surprised by these entries in her oeuvre. Set in and around New Orleans in the dark days before the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, Benjamin January is a "free man of color" and Paris-trained surgeon (not to mention a highly talented pianist) struggling to make ends meet in an inequal society. You can almost feel the humidity in these well-written novels, and there's a wealth of detail about a society that I, for one, never knew existed.
January (occasionally called "Janvier", or even "Enero", depending on the language preference of the speaker) has returned to his childhood home of New Orleans after a cholera epidemic in his adopted home, Paris, claimed the life of his wife.