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Louisiana Bigshot

Louisiana Bigshot is the SECOND book in the Talba Wallis mystery series by Edgar Award-winning author Julie Smith.

“Talba Wallis has to be one of the most distinctive female detectives in the business. Her personality and her poetry are riveting reasons to read this book.” —The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

“Smith has launched Talba Wallis on a welcome series of her own. Wallis is fine fun to get to know… a consistently interesting and likable woman of depth and complexity.” —The Washington Post

Smith has perfect pitch. It’s great to hear her again … Smith gives us a multilayered mystery and a quirky, believable heroine.” —Booklist

“Smith’s new series is a whole other kettle of crayfish: wilder and funnier.” —Chicago Tribune

Meet the hottest detective duo in New Orleans--she’s Queen Latifah. He’s Danny DeVito. Or they would be if this were a movie--in print, they’re Talba Wallis and Eddie Valentino. Talba’s got the beauty, the brains, the computer savvy, the poetic soul,the youth, the right demographic, and the sass. Eddie’s got the detective agency. Also a short fuse and yes, wisdom. Not only do they make it work, they’ve got chemistry.

And they need every skill and ounce of courage they can summon in this intricate tale of a decades-old conspiracy only now coming home to roost, with the murder of Talba’s friend Babalu Maya. Babalu is actually Clayton Robineau, daughter of the local banker in a small Louisiana town that bears her name, a town buried under the weight of its own malevolent past.

Something terrible happened to Clayton as a child, but it was far from the usual “something terrible”. As Talba and Eddie investigate, they find it was an injury—both pscyhic and physical--so bizarre, so shameful and damning that almost anyone in town would kill to cover it up. Or so it seems to the New Orleans duo as they dodge bullets and what passes for the law in this malignant enclave, fetid with the rot of its corruption, yet determined to keep its sordid skeletons buried.

Never did Faulkner’s words ring so true as in Clayton, Louisiana: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

*Author’s note: It’s based on a real event.

“The quirky pleasure of watching the Baroness strut her stuff is worth the price of admission.” —Houston Chronicle

“Louisiana Bigshot is a character-driven tale with plenty of action, suspense, and steamy southern atmosphere… It’s an exhilarating romp that will have you cheering for Talba.” —The Mystery Review

“Join Edgar winner Julie Smith for a climax as harrowing as it is cunning.” —The Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS

Important places

New Orleans (908)


Orleans (933)


Louisiana (1,489)


United States (64,950)

Other geographical areas

Gulf Coast (USA) (2,573)
Deep South (4,776)