New Orleans native Mademoiselle Francesca Dumas is a kept woman. At age eighteen in the second year of the American Civil War, she is the concubine of a rich New Orleans banker, Joachim Buisson. Born a quadroon, Francesca leads a sheltered life of elegant jewels, gowns, lace, and lavish balls—until a bullet shatters her dream world.
An assassin murders “her man” as Francesca stood beside him among a throng gathered atop a Mississippi River levee on April 25, 1862. Bowed by Joachim’s body, rain-soaked and blood-spattered, she vows revenge. Francesca’s passionate desire for retribution drives her into a new life as a sleuth. Becoming a detective to solve a murder mystery is far from the role of women in 1862 New Orleans—especially a woman who perceives herself to be African American but appears to be white.