Tuesday, September 10, 2013

HEARTS OF SAND by Jane Haddam

Who wouldn’t want to be the girl who has everything?  Chapin Waring had it all.  She was a debutante living in the affluent community of Alwych, Connecticut.  Surely she would follow the rosy path of a very privileged young woman - go the right school, meet the ideal (and probably wealthy) man, marry him and live richly ever after.  Alwych was a place where mansions were the usual form of abode, there was a proper school for the young ones and a luxurious club for the adults.  Waspy, wealthy folks always did the right and expected thing.

Well, leave it to the creative mind of Jane Haddam who is known for her crafty puzzlers to bring us another intriguing mystery with Hearts Of Sand.  Debutante Chapin seems to prefer robbing banks to doing the right thing.  Not only robbing but doing it violently, leaving inert bodies behind her.  What a blight this was on Alwych and the Waring family!  Chapin is not caught - in fact she simply disappears.

You know what they say about a bad penny and Chapin appears to be a very bad one - she appears in Alwych some 30 years later.  But it’s a short stay as she’s found stabbed to death in her family’s old home.  This is almost as much of a shock to the community as were her crimes.

The local police are stymied and so turn to the estimable detective Gregor Demarkian.  This is a fellow who is both brilliant and persistent - it may take him a little time but he’ll get to the bottom of this.  Surely the murder could have no connection to 30-year-old bank robberies....or could it?

Once again Jane Haddam has given us a fresh, sharply plotted mystery.  Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke

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