As college students get dressed up for Halloween, ex-FBI agent Gregor Demarkian must catch a real campus ghoul before another faculty member is murdered.
Since Father Tibor Kasparian escaped the Soviet Union, he has done his best to keep his philosophy to himself—not out of fear, but because he knows that few people could stomach an honest account of life under Stalinism. When he gets an invitation to spend a semester teaching philosophy at Independence College, Kasparian hesitates, but his friend Gregor Demarkian, a former FBI investigator, convinces him to accept. They will both wish he had decided to stay away. At Independence, Halloween is the biggest party of the year—it’s also the anniversary of the day that the school’s colonial founders pledged themselves to the American Revolution. As the students prepare to burn an effigy of King George, the hated professor Donegal Steele vanishes, and his secretary turns up dead. To keep his old friend from becoming the next victim, Demarkian will have to do his homework.
Following Act of Darkness , this fourth adventure of former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian takes place in two tense days at Independence College, a small but prestigious school situated in rural Pennsylvania. It is nearly Halloween: the students are preparing a traditional bonfire by heaping wood around a scaffold where an effigy of King George sits56 ; Dr. Katherine Branch, a witch, is conducting mystical rites with her coven102 ; a sociable raven named Lenore circles the faculty apartments; and the lecherous, tenured and thoroughly despised Dr. Donegal Steele7 is missing, if not missed. Demarkian, on campus to lecture about FBI investigations of serial killers, is shocked when Miss Maryanne Veer7 , Steele's secretary, is poisoned with lye in the dining hall--he takes it as a given that Steele has been murdered and that Veer suspected foul play. With the help of his high-strung preppy sidekick Bennis Hannaford43 and longtime Philadelphia friend, Father Tibor Kasparian3 , he seeks a perpetrator among the costumed students and quirky faculty. Although the characters are somewhat two-dimensional, the ominous October atmosphere is pk neatly rendered, and the possible motives and circumstances will keep readers guessing.