Gregor Demarkian joins the defense of a man who may or not be Philadelphia’s Plate Glass Killer.
When Henry Tyder emerges from an alley dripping with blood and stinking of alcohol and worse, everyone assumes he strangled the middle-aged woman back there, then slashed her face to bits, marking her as his 11th victim. Henry confesses, but while two warring detectives disparage each other and mangle the evidence so badly that it’s inadmissible, Henry’s public defender has doubts his client did it. For his part, Henry seems to use jail as a refuge from the two half-sisters bent on drying him out and restoring him to the social prominence expected of the family owning most of the city’s real estate. Called in to untangle matters, Gregor Demarkian, the Armenian-American Poirot (Hardscrabble Road, 2006, etc.), must decide whether Henry is guilty, whether the fractious cops served justice and why these serial killings, unlike others, include no sexual component. Could someone else be the killer? Is more than one killer loose? Gregor manages to put things right despite the emotional upheaval he endures when Bennis Hannaford returns after a year away without a word and asks him to marry her.
Haddam has great fun letting the Cavanaugh Street regulars skewer an English reporter convinced that Pennsylvania is a red state. If her plot unravels a bit at the end, the trip there is exhilarating.