Jane Haddam, “Living Witness”

Jane Haddam’s series of mysteries about the affable former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian have given me a lot of pleasure over the years. They’re reliable procedurals shot through with humor and an unusually penetrating eye for social details. Haddam’s dissection of Main Line WASPs is especially observant. But in the last few years, Haddam has become a little bit dyspeptic, inclined to use her novels as soap boxes. Living Witness takes on Christian fundamentalism and the quest to insert creationism into school curricula — which would be fine if she’d kept it as a plot device. Instead, her ire turns the book into a rant. There’s way too much interior monologue, and much of it is repetitive. When she finally gets around to solving the mystery, Haddam’s attention to it seems almost perfunctory. Passion is important, but this is a novel, and Haddam’s indignation overpowers the fiction.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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4 Responses to Jane Haddam, “Living Witness”

  1. Tanna Timbes says:

    Read about your blog in GUIDEPOSTS….very nice. Have you read John Hart? The Last Child, Down River, King of Lies and Iron House. All good. Thanks for sharing your blog!!

    • carolwallace says:

      Tanna, that’s great. My big issue with these mystery writers is that we read so much faster than they can write, so the supply always runs dry before I’m ready! I’ll check out John Hart right away.

    • carolwallace says:

      OK, Tanna, I’ve looked up John Hart and Iron House looks very disturbing. Where do you think I should start with him?

  2. Pingback: Follow my book blog, “Book Group of One” | | Carol Wallace BooksCarol Wallace Books

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