The end of the year is fast approaching and it's time for me to report on the rest of the books that I've read in 2012. That includes some first-rate mysteries that for some reason I never mentioned in my blog posts.
Jane Haddam's Gregor Demarkian is a favorite of mine, a retired FBI special agent who now helps out police departments and sometimes private citizens. I have read the following three of them, all of which are entitled to at least 4 stars.
Precious Blood, the second Demarkian mystery, published in 1991, is about a Roman Catholic church and school in upstate Colchester, New York. A clique in the parochial school years ago bullied a girl who very much wanted to be part of their world. Now she returns to town during Lent and visits some of her old classmates who are now a priest, a wealthy businesswoman, a nun, and other respectable citizens, which the returning outcast emphatically is not. When she turns up dead the next morning the cardinal calls on Demarkian to help find the killer. One of the most clever murder weapons I've ever encountered.
A Great Day for the Deadly (1992) takes place as the small upstate New York town of Maryville prepares for the yearly St Patrick's Day parade while keeping an eye on the fast-rising river that may wash out their plans. One morning a novice heads to the library to pick up library books for her convent and disappears. What could happened to her? Who would want to harm an innocent young girl? Can Gregor Demarkian figure out who did it? Another excellent holiday mystery by Jane Haddam.
Feast of Murder (1992) takes place in one of the strangest settings I've encountered in a mystery. A wealthy wall street type decided to celebrate Thanksgiving with his dysfunctional family, an ex-wife, and some business associates on board a replica of the Mayflower. This a ship that is as much like the original as possible, including the nautical version of an outhouse. Expecting trouble, the captain invites Gregor Demarkian and his friend, Bennis. Sure enough, there's strychnine in somebody's dinner and while the ship is out of touch with land (and the captain isn't in any hurry to get to port), Gregor has to protect the corpse and figure out who spoiled the feast.