Monday, 1 April 2013

April 2013 - Focus Author - Jane Haddam

Jane Haddam
Jane Haddam is an American mystery writer. She was born in Bethel Connecticut in 1951 and published her first novel, Sweet, Savage Murder, in 1984. Her mysteries feature retired FBI profiler, Armenian - American detective, Gregor Demarkian. Forced to retire, as he'd reached his retirement age, and also due to the death of his wife, Gregor returns to his childhood neighbourhood, Philadelphia  and settles down with his childhood friends. Somewhat to assuage his boredom, he takes on the occasional mystery and these mysteries form the basis of the Gregor Demarkian series. He is often assisted by his friends; Tibor Kasparian and fantasy writer, Bennis Hannaford.

The mysteries are excellent. I read my first Demarkian mystery n 2007 and since then have read 7. Not in any particular order I have to say. The stories often revolve around religious themes, Gregor has been hired by various diocese in his cases and there is a holiday theme for a number of books. So far I've completed:

1. Not a Creature Was Stirring (#1) - Christmas (1990)
2. Bleeding Hearts (#11) - Valentine's Day (1995)
3. True Believers (#17) - (2001)
4. Murder Superior (#8) - Mother's Day (1993)
5. Quoth the Raven (#4) - Hallowe'en (1991)
6. A Stillness in Bethlehem (#7) - Christmas (1993)
7. A Great Day for the Deadly (#5) - St Patrick's Day (1992)

In the month of April, I plan to feature the Gregor Demarkian mysteries as my bed-time book and with any luck, I hope to read another four at least. I still have 7 or 8 in the series on my bookshelves to read and it's been awhile since I have read one. They are always enjoyable, the cast of characters are interesting and both the themes and the crimes are often very different.

I've started with Precious Blood, Gregor Demarkian #2, as my first book. It is one of the Holiday mysteries, Easter being its setting. The story is set in Colchester, NY and this is the book blurb: "Former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian is doing a friend a favour when he shows up in Colchester, NY. The Cardinal Archbishop has a problem: A young woman has been mysteriously murdered, and one of his parish priests had the strongest of reasons for wanting her dead. But Father Andrew Walsh isn't the only one with a motive. It seems that quite a number of parishioners shared a damning past with the diseased. Something happened twenty years ago. Something that's leading a desperate soul to break the deadliest commandment. And when the good Father himself keels over in the middle of High Mass, Gregor knows he needs a miracle."

This is my plan for the rest of the month; if I manage to be successful completing my challenge.

Feast of Murder, Gregor Demarkian #6. This is a Thanksgiving murder mystery. "Wall Street wizard Jonathan Edgewick Baird has some very good reasons for hauling friends, family and flunkies out for a Thanksgiving week cruise on his lovingly crafted duplicate of the good ship Mayflower, not the least of which are the fortuitous death of an embarrassing business associate and his own recent release from prison for insider trading. But why did Baird invite former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian, a noted murder specialist, along for the ride? And who put strychnine on the menu for their first dinner at sea? Add two wives - on ex, one current - with unusual appetites, a son who's a little too eager to fill Daddy's shoes, a brother with an adding machine for a soul, and a yuppie couple whose Saab story may have them losing the car and the condo, and it soon falls to Demarkian to determine which of the blue bloods really came to give thanks.. and which one is really out for blood.

Dear Old Dead, Demarkian #9, Father's Day Mystery. "Media mogul, Charles van Straadt could have picked a better time for an unannounced call on the uptown health-care centre he supported. A gang war rages across Harlem, making for wall-to-wall stretchers in the emergency room, and photos of the centre's saintly director have been splashed all over the front pages after a vice charge arrest. it was an inconvenient time to drop in.. and an even worse time to drop dead. Former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian is called in to investigate van Straadt's messy demise. Was it a premature Father's Day gift from one of the millionaire's grandchildren, hoping to head off a rumoured change in the old man's will? Did the clinic director have a falling out with his prickly, uptight patron? Or did the smiling nun with a will of steel send Charlie to his Heavenly Father? Soon Demarkian has a Father's Day gift of his own, even more unwanted than a gaudy tie.. another corpse."

Festival of Deaths, Gregor Demarkian #10, Hanukkah.
"Eight nights of murder. That's what Hanukkah in Philadelphia shapes up to be this year, as a killer stalks America's most outrageous talk show host from New York to the City of Brotherly Love - bailiwick of ex-FBI agent, Gregor Demarkian. The good folks on Cavanaugh Street have cajoled Gregor into appearing on Lotte Goldman's always controversial TV show. The topic: Sex and the Serial Killer. But Gregor is soon drawn into a jungle of behind-the-camera politics and off-the-set malice. He'll have to out bluff a murder.. before death lights a candle for them all."

Of course, even if I do manage to read these four in April, I still have these others in the hopper..

Fountain of Death, Demarkian #12
Baptism in Blood, Demarkian #14
Deadly Beloved, Demarkian #15
Skeleton Key, Demarkian #16
Glass Houses, Demarkian #22
Living Witness, Demarkian #24

It's an excellent series. I'm looking forward to re-acquainting myself with Haddam's excellent series. You might want to check it out yourself, if you like a good, well-paced, interesting murder mystery series. Give it it a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails