Monday, May 12, 2014


The mystery in Jane Haddam's Bleeding Hearts (1994) was relatively transparent, but the people were as wonderful as always.

Someone kills a well-known psychologist Paul Hazzard.

Several years earlier someone murdered his wife. Prosecutors charged Hazzard with the crime. The jury acquitted him.

Hazzard's murder takes place at a party attended by former FBI agent and serial murder specialist Gregor Demarkian. Police suspect Gregor's friend Hanna Krekorian committed the murder.

Demarkian uses his unusual powers of observation to find the murder weapon and solve the case. But the solution doesn't happen until after a third murder. Demarkian's powers are unusual because he barely notices much about the world around him, but when it comes to murder, he understands human nature. He observes small details.

As almost always in these books, the murder takes place in the Armenian section of Philadelphia. Though Father TIbor has little part in this story, most of the rest of the main characters are front and center.

It is those characters and that setting which fascinate me.

The stories make no effort to be totally believable. They are simply good character-driven cozy mysteries.

Haddam's Demarkian books go from character to character, section to section, delving into people’s lives. Many of the characters are eccentric, to say the least.

Haddam set each of the first books around a holiday. (I think this is the first Valentine's Day book.) Later the books had non-holiday settings.

When I see one of these books reprinted in less expensive electronic editions, I usually buy it. I always enjoy reading about Gregor Demarkian.  


Ron Smyth said...

An author of whom I've long been aware, but never tried. Someday perhaps, but there are so many books I already have. Sounds similar to K C Constantine.

Joe Barone said...

Ron, I feel the same way. So many books, so little time. I haven't read K C Constantine so I can't comment on that.