Saturday, April 19, 2014

Review: Quoth the Raven by Jane Haddam


Quoth the Raven by Jane Haddam was released from MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Media March 5, 2013 as an ebook. It was originally released in book format September 1, 1991.

Gregor Demarkian is a former FBI agent and great friend of Father Tibor Kasparian who has been asked to teach philosophy for the semester at Independence College. Father Tibor accepts and Gregor finds himself roped into making a lecture on topics related to his time with the FBI. Meanwhile, the most obnoxious man on campus, Professor Donegal Steele, has disappeared.

Once someone has made an attempt either to murder or silence the department secretary, Miss Maryanne Veer, local authorities are called in to investigate. Gregor Demarkian having been on the scene offers his help. Speculation arises that perhaps Steele's disappearance is more unwilling than voluntary.  Halloween celebrations on campus are in full swing while these macabre events go on behind the scenes.

I enjoyed reading this mystery. It takes place in a small town, small campus setting. The cast of characters, which still could be quite large owing to the campus population, is kept manageable. In the beginning the Gregor Demarkian mysteries centered around holidays and this one is no exception as it is focused around an intense Halloween celebration on the campus. Not being that familiar with academic politics, I couldn't guess the killer until the end. It was a nice surprise.

Some of the characters were little more than caricatures or not well developed, but they served their purposes to further the story. The most in depth characters appeared to be Father Tibor, Gregor Demarkian and the Sheriff. I can just hear Miss Bennis crying out, "Hey! What about me?" But she had little to do with the plot in this case.  And I adored the bird Lenore, who was well enough developed for a bird.

I give this mystery 4 stars. It's likable. I would buy it for someone as a gift if they had an interest in the things that this mystery is about or an interest in the type of main character that the sleuth is. It's worth reading.