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Jane Haddam never ceases to astound me.
on July 5, 2003
St. Martin's, June 2003, 277pp.
Anthony Ross is the one of the most powerful and influential bankers in the world, and a member of Philadelphia's "High Society". Gregor Demarkian and Bennis Hannaford are attending a fund-raiser at his home in Bryn Mawr when he is shot to death on the front steps of his own home. Father Tibor Kasparian is the priest at Holy Trinity Armenian Christian Church on Cavanaugh Street, where Gregor and Bennis live. Simultaneously with Anthony Ross' death, a bomb goes off at the church and Father Tibor is injured.
Gregor Demarkian (a long-retired FBI behavioral science expert) is caught between the two crimes. As a witness and possible suspect to the Ross killing, he is asked to cooperate with the authorities, but his heart is on Cavanaugh Street with Fr. Tibor and his neighbors. It is only when Fr. Tibor comes home from the hospital and shows Gregor the obscene letter he received the day of the explosion that Gregor begins to suspect that the two events might somehow be related, although it seems far-fetched, even to him. When Ross' wife Charlotte and an FBI agent join the ranks of the murdered, Gregor is once again in the midst of a high-profile case.
Jane Haddam never ceases to astound me. She has taken the paranoia of Sept 11, conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati, the mind set of the rich and powerful, and the needs of the hangers-on to the Main Line social set, and woven them all into one dizzyingly convoluted mystery - again. And while she's done it, she has explored Philadelphia "society", the mind twists of the conspiracy theorists, and deepened the insight into three of my all-time favorite characters, Gregor, Bennis, and Fr. Tibor. From the deft needling of the CIA to the pointed one-liners scattered throughout the text, no government agency, society matron, fundamentalist, or conspiracy theorist is safe from Jane's barbed wit, and I loved every word, even the ones I wasn't sure I agreed with.