Fevre Dream is an eloquent and retrospective novel, taking as its setting the Mississippi steamboats and the decadence that characterized the city of New Orleans, and adding a dose of the supernatural that fits right in with the rest. The title is derived from the christening of the steamboat by the same name, the magnificent creation of the owner of a shipping firm fallen on hard times and a mysterious foreign benefactor. And she lives up to her name, a glittering haven of wealth and pomp and silver trim, the fastest thing on the river.
But the mysterious benefactor has his own plans for her, and they don't involve cargo or steamboat races. They involve a locked cabin, a pair of bloodied hands, newspaper articles filled with murder, and strangely nocturnal hours.
The rest of the review contains mild spoilers.