Baptism in Blood, by Jane Haddam

Second paragraph of third chapter:

The second time Rose MacNeill heard that Gregor Demarkian was coming to Bellerton, she was standing in Charlie Hare's feed store, buying a packet of seed for the basil she liked to grow in pots on the ledge over her kitchen sink&emdash;and then it struck her. By then it was all over, theoretically. The plywood had come off the windows of the stores on Main Street. Maggie Kelleher had even put out a little display stand full of paperback books, horror novels with cutout covers and silver foil letters and pictures of the Devil glaring through fiery eye sockets that had nothing in them but flames. Still, there was no way to ignore the fact that Something Had Happened, the Something at the time being represented not by the debris still scattered over Main Street itself or the number of houses without roofs that could be seen by standing on the front steps of the library, but by the CBS News truck parked in front of Town Hall. Something had happened, all right, and that something was Ginny Marsh and her dead baby and what might or might not have gone on up at the camp while the storm was going on everywhere else.

My fourth and probably last book by Jane Haddam, starring her detective, retired FBI agent Gregor Demarkian. (The others: first, second, third.) Demarkian here is called in to investigate a small-town North Carolina infanticide, where two different Christian sects are feuding over how best to oppose the lesbian feminist heiress who has established a commune in her ancestral home, and a baby has died. I must say I was not very impressed; there seemed to be little evidence of the local police (or indeed anyone) doing boring stuff like taking evidence and working out who was where and when, and the sexual politics of the town seemed awfully suburban and boring. Demarkian himself is a charming character, but I wasn't convinced by his relationship with the more traditional enforcers of law. An easy read though, and generally pleasant, apart from the murders. You can get it here.

This was both my top unread book acquired on 2011, and the work of non-sff fiction that had lingered longest unread on my shelves. Next on those piles respectively are the Nebula Awards Showcase 2011, edited by Kevin J. Anderson, and In Another Light by Andrew Greig, which will wait until I have finished all other books acquired in 2011 (won't be long).

One thought on “Baptism in Blood, by Jane Haddam

  1. Thanks for the Dahl link! That kind of to-and-fro always fascinates. Dahl really was obsessed with the heart-rate of mice, wasn’t he? It comes into Matilda too, and I’ve a feeling it’s mentioned in at least one other of his books.

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