The arrest of his best friend introduces not Gregor Demarkian’s toughest case but the one that may come closest to his heart.
You wouldn’t think of Father Tibor Kasparian as Cavanaugh Street’s most likely killer. But you might change your mind if you knew that Martha Handling, the Juvenile Court judge before whom he’d agreed to testify on behalf of DVD shoplifter Stefan Maldovanian, routinely took bribes from Mark Granby, of Administrative Solutions, to send juveniles who came before her to longer sentences so that the prisons Administrative Solutions ran could operate at peak efficiency, “like hotels.” Your faith in Tibor would be seriously shaken if you found him in the judge’s chambers bent over her blood-soaked body. And it would be a rare friend indeed who could maintain his innocence even after seeing the cellphone video of him apparently beating Judge Handling to death with her own gavel. Fortunately, Gregor (Hearts of Sand, 2013, etc.) is just that sort of friend. Aided by an unlikely crew of helpers from the Philadelphia mayor’s office, he fights staunchly to get Tibor out of jail over his strong objections. He figures out who was last in the judge’s chambers despite the fact that she herself had obligingly disabled the security cameras meant to protect her. And he incidentally answers the question of why his neighbor Mikel Dekanian is in danger of losing his home to J.P. CitiWells, a bank that has no financial interest in the property.
Although the Armenian-American Hercule Poirot may not add new luster to his formidable reputation as a sleuth, he gives a charming and powerful demonstration of civic responsibility in action.