Edgar Award Finalist: The patriarch of a wealthy, notoriously unpleasant Philadelphia family is murdered, and a former FBI agent must figure out whodunit.
The Hannaford who made the family fortune called himself a tycoon. The newspapers called him a robber baron. Since the days of Robert Hannaford I, the family has infested Philadelphia society like a disease. The current Hannafords are a clan of embezzlers, gamblers, and fantasy novelists. This Christmas, they have money in their bank accounts, crime in their blood, and murder on their minds. Gregor Demarkian is their reluctant guest. A former FBI agent who quit the agency after his wife’s death, he is invited by the Hannaford patriarch to come for dinner at the family mansion. Demarkain arrives just in time to find his host bludgeoned to death in his study and his investigation will lead him to the Hannafords, a family of cold-blooded killers.
Under the Hadden pseudonym, Orania Papazoglou ( Sweet Savage Death ) introduces Gregor Demarkian, a retired FBI agent drawn into private sleuthing. Gregor has never met wealthy eccentric Robert Hannaford but has ample incentive (an offer of $100,000 for Gregor's church) to join Christmas Eve dinner at the Hannaford mansion. Show up, eat and take the money--that's it, says Robert. But when Gregor arrives, he finds Hannaford's corpse in the study. Robert had regarded his children as ``dangerous idiots,'' but which one might be dangerous enough to commit murder: Myra and Bobby, who are picking up spare cash through insider trading at Hannaford Financial; Teddy, about to be fired from his college teaching post for plagiarism and sexual harassment; this is correct/pk Bennis, the fantasy writer; Chris, who has to pay off a gambling debt of $75,000; Anne Marie, who has run the family house and cared for her chronically ill mother; or actress Emma, baby of the family, said to have already made an attempt on her father's life? This is a promising first volume in a series featuring Demarkian.