A Gregor Demarkian Novel
By Jane Haddam
Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312380861, 400pp.
Publication Date: April 14, 2009
In her 91 years, Ann-Victoria Hadley has often been the most hated person in Snow Hill, Pennsylvania. But now, it’s worse than ever. After a new school board inserted “intelligent design” into the curriculum, they were sued by a coalition including Hadley, the one member of the board who wouldn’t go along with the rest. With the trial about to start and the town a national laughing stock, Annie-Vic is found clubbed into unconsciousness and not expected to survive. The local police chief, one of the school board members, can’t investigate it himself and doesn’t trust the state police. So he brings in Gregor Demarkian.Gregor Demarkian, former FBI agent, is happy to help—his wedding is coming up and he’s desperate for a bit of time away from his too-involved neighbors on Cavanaugh Street in Philadelphia. Even if it is to investigate a brutal crime in a powder-keg of a small town.
“Haddam does what so many other writers fail to do: tell a story that challenges its readers…[In Living Witness,] the author offers her typically razor-sharp mystery concerning a highly contentious issue, but also does so without taking sides, treating all of her characters ... with respect and understanding. Haddam is a fine writer, exhibiting skills rarely glimpsed in the mystery genre.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Edgar-finalist Haddam's excellent novel takes a nuanced look at the debate over teaching evolution in public schools… Haddam makes characters on both sides of the issue sympathetic, explores the inner life of her detective hero—and offers an ingenious fair-play puzzle.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)