The Nubian’s Curse
by Barbara Hambly

A cursed statue . . . A haunted house . . . A seemingly supernatural death . . . The unexpected arrival of a friend from his past plunges musician, sleuth and free man of color Benjamin January into an old, unsolved case in this historical mystery set in New Orleans

December 1840. Surgeon turned piano-player Benjamin January is looking forward to a peaceful holiday with his family. But the arrival of an old friend brings unexpected news – and unexpected danger.

Persephone Jondrette has found Arithmus: a Sudanese man with extraordinary mental abilities who January last saw in France, nearly fifteen years ago, during a ghost-hunting expedition to a haunted chateau. January and his friends survived the experience . . . but Arithmus’ benefactor, the British explorer Deverel Wishart, did not. He was discovered dead one morning, his face twisted in horror, and shortly afterwards Arithmus vanished, never to be seen again.

Did Deverel succumb to the chateau’s ghosts – or did Arithmus murder him and run away? January is determined to uncover the truth about the tragic incident from his past, and clear his old friend’s name – but even he isn’t prepared for what happens next . . .

The Nubian’s Curse by NYT-bestselling author Barbara Hambly is the latest instalment of the critically acclaimed historical mystery series featuring talented amateur sleuth and free man of color, Benjamin January.


“[Benjamin January is] a winning character, nimbly moving through parts of history we should all know better”

New York Times

“Outstanding . . . fastidious period detail, and a consistently surprising investigation”

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Hambly is a terrific storyteller; she builds a world that feels very real with fully realized characters. In the Benjamin January novels, we feel like we’ve been transported to a different time and place. Wonderful”


“A hauntingly atmospheric mystery with a complex and exciting storyline”

Kirkus Reviews

“This masterly portrayal of smoldering racial tensions deserves a wide readership”

Publishers Weekly Starred Review of Death and Hard Cider

“The historical backdrop is vivid, and the writing is exquisite. One of the best in a not-to-be-missed series”

Booklist Starred Review of Death and Hard Cider

“One of Hambly’s best mysteries combines historical detail, intense local color, and ugly truths about slavery and politics”

Kirkus Reviews on Death and Hard Cider

“Outstanding . . . Hambly’s masterful historical detail, scrupulous character portrayal, and psychological analysis of human frailties contribute handsomely to her storytelling”

Publishers Weekly Starred Review of House of the Patriarch

“Hambly lays bare the dark underbelly of American society in the mid-nineteenth century. A fine entry in an impressive series”

Booklist on House of the Patriarch

“A fascinating, sadly timely tale of the hero’s struggles with his rage over the treatment of Black people”

Kirkus Reviews on House of the Patriarch

Barbara Hambly

Barbara Hambly, though a native of Southern California, lived in New Orleans for many years while married to the late science fiction writer George Alec Effinger. Hambly holds a degree in medieval history from the University of California and has written novels in numerous genres.

View author page


The Nubian’s Curse by Barbara Hambly is available in the following formats

Paperback978144831433124th September 2024138 X 216mm256$18.99
Paperback978144831433125th July 2024138 X 216mm256£13.99
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