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The Laced Chameleon by Bob Rogers

The Laced Chameleon

by Bob Rogers

256 pages
Francesca’s struggles: her quadroon identity, spying, being a homicide detective.

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Category: Fiction:Historical
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About the Book
Mademoiselle Francesca Dumas is a quadroon (one-quarter African American) and concubine of a New Orleans banker, Joachim Buisson. Courted by moneyed white men, she leads a sheltered life of elegant gowns and lavish balls until a bullet shatters her dream world. While awaiting the arrival of the Union Navy among a throng gathered atop a Mississippi River levee April 25, 1862, Francesca’s lover is shot dead by her side. Rain soaked and blood-stained Francesca vows revenge.

The grieving Francesca is evicted from Joachim’s house by his family who refuses to honor the lovers’ plaçage (concubinage) contract. Francesca’s life becomes intertwined with a homeless hungry white woman and her children when she shares her last Confederate dollars to buy food for them. Her investigation of the woman’s plight lands her work as a spy for Major General Benjamin Butler’s army occupying New Orleans. As Francesca struggles with her identity to make principled choices between another plaçage arrangement and independence, an acquaintance is murdered and her best friend, Emily, is kidnapped.

Francesca works to recover Emily and avenge Joachim. Her arduous mental and physical journey takes a circuitous route, far from a concubine’s life of extravagant balls, lace, and leisure and into the perilous abyss between foreign, Union, and Confederate spies, leading to the Battle of Baton Rouge. Francesca gets help from New Orleans humanitarian Mother Henriette Delille, actress Sarah Butler, and Union spy John Mahan. Can Francesca’s determination and wit find and defeat a three-time murderer?


(The Laced Chameleon's) impressive nonfiction cast, which includes [1862] New Orleans political, military, and religious figures, various artists, and entrepreneurs of that era, are surrounded by a host of fictional characters, plus the protagonist, Francesca Dumas. She is beautiful and intelligent, yet naive... Rogers’ well-developed characters comprise highly skilled yet still enslaved African Americans as well as aristocratic Yankees… his narrative incorporates lighthearted and comedic moments, especially as Francesca and her friends (and) outwit condescending aristocrats... The Laced Chameleon is a highly recommended read. Rogers succinctly captures it when he states, "In America, race matters. Within the artificial construct of race, color and class have mattered for centuries, and still matter today.
- Anita Lock, San Francisco Book Review
(The Laced Chameleon) is filled with New Orleans culture and 19th century customs and race issues… contains many excellent scenes of conflict... An intriguing read.
- Writers Digest
In (The Laced Chameleon), Francesca’s world is vividly portrayed... this is an engrossing saga that depends on one woman’s cleverness and ability… [Francesca is] a believable, living protagonist whose concerns and approach to life are well grounded in the politics and social mores of her times… It’s rare to find a historical mystery so [conversant] in the flavors and atmosphere of the antebellum South. (The Laced Chameleon is) a historical murder mystery that’s more than light reading!
- D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
In The Laced Chameleon, author Bob Rogers demonstrates his gift for storytelling while using his historical plots to teach readers about race, politics, and struggle in America. A reader can’t go wrong with this Great Read! Heroine Francesca Dumas indeed is a “Laced Chameleon.”
- Brian H. Settles, Author of No Reason for Dying
The Laced a suspenseful, compassionate and perceptive reflection on race, identity, and the multifaceted history of New Orleans. I am hoping that this would be the beginning of a Francesca mystery series. I recommend this book to readers of historical fiction who enjoy a mysterious unscrambling of history.
- – B. Jackson, “avid reader”



About the Author
Bob Rogers Bob Rogers, author of First Dark, is a former army captain and combat leader during the Vietnam War in Troop A, 1/10 Cavalry. He is a member of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association. Bob Lives in Charlotte, NC.



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