Sun 13 Jul 2008
SARAH STEWART TAYLOR – Judgment of the Grave. St. Martin’s Press: hardcover, June 2005; paperback, August 2006.
Sweeney St. George, temporarily relieved of her academic teaching duties, pursues her interest in funerary art (mainly gravestones) by relocating to Concord to do primary research on the bizarre headstones carved by a Revolutionary era stonecutter. She finds herself following the trail already opened up by another scholar who’s disappeared and is presumed to be dead.
I prefer Sweeney in her academic setting, where she seems more at home, but the novel, if somewhat over ingenious in its plotting, is still a pleasing mix of scholarship and murder, both of them natural lures for the always inquisitive protagonist.
ANN WALDRON – Unholy Death in Princeton. Berkley, paperback original, March 2005.
A novel somewhat in the same vein as the one above. It features a protagonist (McLeod Dulaney) who’s a prizewinning journalist doing research for a biography on an abolitionist newspaperman at Princeton Seminary.
In comparison with Taylor’s book, however, Waldron’s novel is cluttered with forgettable characters and really awful dialogue, further compromised by a meandering plot and an improbable climax.
The Sweeney St. George mysteries:
Mansions of the Dead. St. Martin’s, hc, July 2004.
Judgment of the Grave. St. Martin’s, hc, June 2005.
Still As Death. St. Martin’s, hc, Sept 2006.
The McLeod Dulaney mysteries:
Death of a Princeton President. Berkley, pb, Feb 2004.
Unholy Death in Princeton. Berkley, pb, Mar 2005.
A Rare Murder in Princeton. Berkley, pb, Apr 2006.
The Princeton Imposter. Berkley, pb, Jan 2007.