cover image A Great Day for the Deadly

A Great Day for the Deadly

Jane Haddam, Jane Haddan. Crimeline, $5.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-29388-3

Retired FBI agent Gregor Demarkian, last seen in Haddam's Halloween mystery, Quoth the Raven , takes on a new and engrossing murder case in time for St. Patrick's Day. Duty in the form of an anxious John Cardinal O'Bannion beckons Demarkian to Maryville, N.Y., where aspiring nun Brigit Ann Reilly has been found dead during a furious rainstorm, her corpse covered with water moccasins. Demarkian's expertise with poison is put to use as he determines that Brigit's death was caused by hemlock rather than snakebite and that the snakes were merely snuggling up to her body for warmth; however, he is perplexed because water moccasins are not indigenous to the North. Suspicion falls upon the owners of local menageries--Sam Harrigan, an actor who escapes media attention by living in Maryville, and Josh Malley, the restless 25-year-old kept man of 62-year-old bank owner Miriam Bailey. Josh's affair with a younger woman, a glitch in the bank's computer system, a threatening letter sent to the motherhouse of the Sisters of Divine Grace and the victim's melodramatic affection for secretive people all come into play in this lucid and enjoyable yarn. (Mar.)