Select one of the keywords
Cheating at Solitaire: A Gregor Demarkian Novel    by Jane Haddam order for
Cheating at Solitaire
by Jane Haddam
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

When Jane Haddam's 22nd Gregor Demarkian novel begins, a movie production company has recently converged on Margaret's Harbor, a Cape Cod playground for the rich and famous. It is the dead of winter, and the eccentric assortment of Hollywood performers and technicians has intruded upon and occasionally clashed with the locals. Nevertheless, the show must go on - in spite of problems with drunken actresses, a meddling socialite, an irritable publicist, and an irksome photographer who aspires to the world of paparazzi.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian is suffering through the endless preparations for his upcoming wedding. Steeped in Armenian traditions, the wedding promises to be quite an event, but Gregor is rapidly becoming overwhelmed by all of the planning.

Then, as the New Year begins, Gregor is surprised by a visit from Stewart Gordon, an old acquaintance and a well-known actor. Recently arrived in Philadelphia from Margaret's Harbor, Stewart needs Gregor's help. A production assistant, Mark Anderman, has been apparently murdered, and an actress, Arrow Normand, has been arrested and charged with the homicide; however, Stewart is convinced of Arrow's innocence and believes instead that an influential and wealthy local woman named Kendra Rhode is responsible. Stewart tells Gregor, 'I want you to come up to Margaret's Harbor and prove that Kendra Rhode did it. Maybe not directly, because she never gets her hands dirty, but she did it.'

Gregor is reluctant to become involved, but Stewart's request is accompanied by a persuasive appeal for Gregor's help from the public prosecutor at Margaret's Harbor. After all, the local police haven't dealt with a homicide in over half of a century, and they are clearly in over their heads on this one. Margaret's Harbor very much needs Gregor Demarkian.

So, Gregor and Stewart go to Margaret's Harbor, and it doesn't take long for Gregor to realize that he had become involved in an unpleasant and difficult case. In fact, 'Gregor had the feeling that he had stepped into the kind of movie he would have refused to watch.' Complications arise everywhere, people are not very cooperative, and then - when Gregor thinks the case couldn't become more problematic, someone is sadistically mutilated and another person is killed.

Highly recommended as a top-notch mystery and full of fun as an excoriating critique of America's empty-headed fascination with celebrities, Cheating at Solitaire is another great Gregor Demarkian mystery. The series keeps getting better with each new installment, and Cheating at Solitaire proves that author Jane Haddam is at the top of her game. Don't miss it!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews