Series: Storyville #3
Author: David Fulmer
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Year: 2006
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 murder- that of a well-to-do gentleman on seedy Rampart Street. Then another wealthy society man turns up dead, and the detective learns that the two victims were acquainted years ago. In a spider's web of coincidence, the second murder has been witnessed-or 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?
The adventure of detective Valentin St. Cyr in Storyville continues in Rampart Street. This time after long absence from his usual job at Storyville, the detective decides to come back. There is a murder happened at Rampart Street. It isn’t surprising considering the place, but what makes it unusual is the victim. A reputable white man found with a bullet wound in the middle of Rampart Street. Because of that, someone is asking a favor to Tom Anderson, the king of Storyville, on behalf of the victim’s family to help solve the murder case. That’s how Valentin got assigned to the case. At first, Valentin was going to end the case immediately by ruling it as random robbery. But as he digs more, turns out the case is bigger than what he anticipates.
Rampart Street is the third book in the Storyville series. Although it can be read as a standalone, I suggest reading the entire series chronologically. It wouldn’t affect the mystery because each book’s case isn’t directly connected. But that way, readers can perceive Valentin’s struggle and development as a character better.
In the end of the second book, Valentin went away from Storyville. He had enough of murders and felt the need to take a breather from that entire ruckus in the sinful district. After 15 months, he’s back and of course he’s not the same man. He looks unkempt and he just careless about everything. After hearing about the Rampart Street case, he even considered to end it quickly and just stated it as a random shooting or robbery. That isn’t what he would do 15 months ago. It seems like something happened with him while he was gone. Though the away period isn’t told in the book, Valentin’s transition from a sharp detective into the man he is at the start of the book is kind of acceptable.
The main case in this book revolves around social hierarchy and racist issues. In this book, Valentin has to work for a reputable white family which is quite scandalous at that time since he is actually colored. The discrimination is seen in how the family lawyer and most people from the white society treat Valentin. It’s sad and horrible. There’s this guy trying to solve a problem and everyone looks down on him. Also the motive of this case is actually a part of one big conspiracy plan to ‘purify’ New Orleans. It’s exciting and intriguing but I don’t want to spoil the whole thing so I won’t explain anything more.
All in all, another exciting murder mystery by David Fulmer. I’d say that I still love the second book better because the ending of this book doesn’t really do it for me. It does give some kind of closure to the case but I need more. Still, the premise of this book is interesting. Though it took me longer to read Rampart Street, it didn’t spoil the fun of reading it.