The New York Times
Rampart Streetby David Fulmer
As the third Storyville mystery begins, Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr has just returned to New Orleans. Having only recently solved the case of the jass murders, he is drawn reluctantly into the investigation of a new murderthat of a well-to-do gentleman on seedy Rampart Street. When another wealthy society man turns up dead, the detective learns that the… See more details below
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As the third Storyville mystery begins, Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr has just returned to New Orleans. Having only recently solved the case of the jass murders, he is drawn reluctantly into the investigation of a new murderthat of a well-to-do gentleman on seedy Rampart Street. When another wealthy society man turns up dead, the detective learns that the two victims were acquainted years ago. In a spider’s web of coincidence, the second murder has been witnessedor has it?by the man who’s now keeping Justine, Valentin’s old girlfriend, as his paramour. Valentin probes deeper even as the city’s most powerful leaders pressure him to drop the investigation. What could he be getting close to, and what nerves might he unwittingly strike? David Fulmer has created a heart-pounding mystery in this, his soulful detective’s most dangerous case yet.
The New York Times
"Captures that sense of disorientation when someone returns to a beloved place and feels himself a stranger . Elegiac."
"You can almost taste the gumbo. Fulmer's languid, conversational style perfectly matches the Crescent City."
"Historic events and racial tension power the plot. An interesting journey into the New Orleans of almost a century ago."
"Characters are beautifully drawn with just a few words. Valentin is a hero for whom it's easy to cheer." -- Detroit Free Press
PRAISE FOR THE VALENTIN ST. CYR MYSTERIES
"Fulmer clearly has the skills to bring any musical world alive . . . In his first two mysteries he has created a full-blooded portrait of New Orleans."--The Boston Globe
"If Fulmer has plans for future stories about St. Cyr and his real and imaginary Fourth Ward cronies, they'd be more than welcome here."--Los Angeles Times
A bittersweet trip to New Orleans… the journey is a blues-soaked pleasure.
"Fulmer improves with each outing in this ambience-drenched series."
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Read an Excerpt
The moment he turned the corner onto Rampart Street, he knew he was a dead man.
A shadow was moving directly in his path, a phantom in a dark duster, one arm outstretched and pointing a Navy .45. He started to say, Not me! But he only got as far as the first word when the other hand came up, the palm out, shushing him.
From down past Second Street, he heard a trumpet blowing, a slow run of dirty brass. Jass they called it. He fixed on that odd word for a moment, seeking escape. Then he was back facing the pistol, feeling its ghostly touch over twelve feet of space.
He had lived for years with the fear that someone would come for him. He had paid in sleepless nights. He had seen a shady figure in his dreams, stepping out of a darkness just like this one. It wasn't fair. He wasn't the villain; he was the one who wanted to set things right.
He was blurting "Damn your-" when the pistol shouted and the .45 slug caught him under the chin, snapping his head back and choking off the words in a bloody cough. The shot echoed down Rampart Street as he staggered and toppled over, clutching at his throat, his life bleeding out to seep around the cobblestones.
The shadow faded back into the inky New Orleans night. Across the narrow street, a curtain opened, hung suspended for a moment, and then closed.
One minute passed in silence. It lingered into a second, then a third. The stream of blood ran to the gutter, a feast for the flies at the first light of day.
There was a patter of footsteps, rat quick, from the far side of the street. A crabbed figure bent over the body, rustling through pockets, pulling the heavy piece from the right-hand ring finger. When the wedding band wouldn't budge from the left hand, a blade flashed on its way to dismembering the digit and the ring that wrapped it above the knuckle.
But before the job could be done, a trio of men appeared, the last dregs flushed out onto the street from Johnny O's Saloon, hooting drunkenly as they staggered up to the corner. In the one-two-three order of a vaudeville routine, they came to a stop. Their mouths dropped and six bleary eyes swam over to the body lying in the street and the other form that was bending over it.
One of the drunks, finding his voice, yelled, "Hey, now!"
The crabbed figure jerked back and scurried away just as fast as he'd come. The three fellows slowed to a series of nervous baby steps as they drew up on the body. The first one saw the ugly hole in the victim's throat and said, "Sweet Jesus! Look at that!"
A stunned few seconds passed, and then the fellow who had spoken up went stumbling back to the call box that was mounted on the light post, just down Rampart Street.
Copyright © 2006 by David Fulmer
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