RAMPART STREET (Private Investigator-New Orleans-1900s) – VG Fulmer, David – 3rd in series
Harcourt, 2006- Hardcover

After 15 months away, Creole Detective Valerian St. Cyr in back in New Orleans’s red-light district of Storyville. He has lost weight, no longer exhibits his usual style, nor interest in life around him. In an effort to bring him back to himself, his employer, Boss Tom Anderson, conveniences him to investigate the murder of a wealthy, white businessman found dead in Storyville. St. Cyr is warned off the investigation, but the man’s daughter asks him to continue, no matter where it leads.

Fulmer does a wonderful job of conveying the complex and multilayered social and political structure of life in New Orleans and Storyville during the early 1900s. His characters are rich and dimensional, his sense of place exacting. There’s a feeling of melancholy to the story so that even scenes during the day feel muted and gritty. The pace and narrative of the story bring you into the story and keep you there from the first page to the last. This is a character-driven mystery and St. Cyr is a fascinating character; one about whom you care. Rampart Street accentuates hypocrisy and greed born from power. Fulmer has maintained the quality of this series with each book and, although this book stands well along, should recommend starting from the beginning.

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