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Blood in the Water    by Jane Haddam order for
Blood in the Water
by Jane Haddam
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Blood in the Water follows Flowering Judas in Jane Haddam's long running and deservedly popular series starring former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian. The author moves us back and forth between the mystery and Demarkian's engaging interactions with friends and neighbors in his Philadelphia Armenian community.

Our hero is depressed and moody, trying to make sense of the death of his friend and neighbour, old George. He's hired to consult on a case involving arson in Waldorf Pines, a very wealthy and pretentious gated suburb of Philadelphia. After a fire at the pool house, two burned bodies were found. They were assumed to be those of Martha Heydrich (who drove a pink sports car everywhere) and the teenager, Michael Platte, she was believed to be sleeping with.

The police arrested Martha's husband Arthur (who was first on the scene of the fire) for the murders of his wife and her boyfriend, but then were embarrassed when DNA evidence showed that both corpses were male. Local police are in over their heads and they know it. They call on Demarkian, who interviews a variety of strange characters and finds a few false trails before he figures out who the second murder victim really is.

Though I guessed the solution to the mystery fairly early in the novel, it's all in the details (especially the garden hose). As always, I enjoyed going through them with Gregor Demarkian and taking in his perspectives on people and their odd antics.

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