Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Precious Blood (The Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mysteries)” as Want to Read:
Precious Blood (The Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mysteries)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Precious Blood

(Gregor Demarkian #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  571 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Back in her hometown, an unpopular woman becomes a killer’s target

In high school, Cheryl was an outcast, tolerated only because the boys considered her easy. But one night at Black Rock Park, the popular kids were strangely kind, and for the first time in her life, Cheryl’s future seemed bright. Twenty heartbreaking years later, Cheryl is dying of cancer, and wants to retu
Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Road (first published March 1st 1991)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Precious Blood, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Precious Blood

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  571 ratings  ·  50 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Precious Blood (The Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mysteries)
Blaine DeSantis
Book 2 in this series and I really enjoy our main character, Armenian-American Gregor Demarkian. Here he is pulled into a series of mysterious deaths in upstate New York all of which are tied into the local Catholic Church. There is a lot of Catholic tradition that is a part of the book and sometimes there is a bit too much minutia but the characters are all real and the plot is ingenious. I did feel the book was about 50 pages too long, but it did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the b ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the second Gregor Demarkian mystery. Tibor's friend, Archbishop O'Bannion, has a problem. A young woman has been found dead in suspicious circumstances and Gregor is asked to investigate. Twenty years ago, six classmates were friends. Now two are priests, one a nun, one a successful businesswoman, one a virulent anti-Catholic TV Evangelist and another a good Catholic wife. What happened between the dead woman and these six people so many years ago? Gregor Demarkian discovers a crime that ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has been on the TBR stack since 2014. I have many of the next books in the series waiting for me also. I read the first book Not a Creature was Stirring around that time and immediately ordered the next books.

I enjoyed the book. Jane Haddam does her research and wrote a twisty layered mystery. It starts out when a woman who is dying with cancer returns returns to her home town. She was bullied and rejected her whole life time while living there. To get approval or affection, she had a
This one was a bit slower in the beginning but once Demarkian shows up the pace picks up. There was less of his circle of friends on Cavanaugh Street in this particular book, which was too bad. Otherwise, Precious Blood was an enjoyable book.

My favorite quote: "[Father] Tibor had books the way other people had dust."
I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first. Very heavy on Catholic terms and rituals. A good mystery though. Let’s see what the third book has to offer.
I love Haddam's way of introducing her characters in short vignettes at the beginning of every book. But as much as I like this series in general, this entry fell short for me. Of the six titles I've read so far, "Precious Blood" is my least favorite. Perhaps it was the absence of secondary characters I had come to enjoy. In their place were characters that I never found to be particularly sympathetic. Additionally, the development of the story seemed painstakingly slow with excessive background ...more
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, mystery
A mystery set in a church and so different from the one I just read.
I appreciate that Haddam explains all the terms when she uses obscure religious ones.

It took a little bit of settling into this story. The opening segments drew me in, then I couldn't quite figure out what was going on with Gregor and why Tibor wanted him to go to Colchester. Once I got past that I couldn't quit reading. Okay, quitting reading would mean I had to clean house, so that was an incentive to keep going. Still I like
I actually liked this who-done-it because it felt like an old school mystery. Plus, it's all about the Catholic church and goes into the rituals and beliefs, so I found that interesting, as well. There wasn't blood and guts, just a sort of Murder She Wrote feeling. I really did see Angela Lansbury poking around, too. This was the first of the freebie reads. ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd probably give it three and a half. It was good but a little heavy on the religious minutiae to suit me and I always hate it when a character I really like is one of the victims. Still, it was a page turner and I'm on to the next book in the series. ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
A solid mystery with one or two flaws that probably wouldn't bother most people. The main investigator is Armenian American who's been asked to consult in a case of a death in a town in upstate New York. The Cardinal Archbishop of the local Catholic diocese, a friend of Demarkian's pastor has asked him to look into the death, supposedly by suicide, of a newcomer to town who was found not too far from the Cathedral. Turns out, she's a sort of long lost parishioner, part of a group of students inv ...more
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
in this mystery, a retired FBI agent who happens to be Armenian is called in to investigate one suspicious death, which becomes a series of suspicious deaths, during the week before Easter in a very Catholic neighborhood.

this was pretty enjoyable to read. I didn't realize it was published in 1991, although that makes more sense - I was checking that, actually, because the repeated statements about how crime in the Catholic church is so minimal seemed a bit out of place. but back then I guess th
I came to this series late, so I've been going back and reading these earlier books (which can be a bit hard to get hold of).

The series deepens and improves as it goes, so the early ones feel a bit rough. But it's interesting to see how they start off bound to the marketing schtick of holiday-themed mysteries, but even in just the second volume that theme already feels sort of tacked-on. Yes, the mystery centers on a church during Lent, and there are occasional references to Easter decorations,
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had just started reading this book, set at least partly in Philadelphia, when the news broke about the latest cover-up of child abuse in the Catholic Church, this time in Pennsylvania. It could have spoiled this book for me, and it did bring in some thoughts that I wrestled with, but in the end, this book reminded me that religious people are not immune to sin. And especially not immune to rationalizing their own sin.

I am really liking this series of books. I'm not sure how I missed Jane Hadd
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well-written mystery but this second book in the Gregor Demarkian series was heavily concerned with the Catholic Church, its rites and beliefs. Demarkian is asked to help solve the mystery of a priest who dies on Good Friday after sipping from the chalice during communion. I liked the story but was rather put off by all the blind obedience to church rules and precepts exhibited by many of the characters.
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really a 3.5. An atypical mystery with a great deal of information about the inner workings of a Catholic church and Archdiocese. It bogs down somewhat in the middle, but the ending is satisfying. Nuns and priests are not treated as one-dimensional. Instead, they are full, interesting people with pasts.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
The second of Haddam's Demarkian stories, this has lots of interesting tension and puzzles. I can't say I care for the Cardinal, but his insistence on NOT allowing the police to inspect the possibly poisoned sacramental wine added a clever dimension to the story. ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The second Gregor Demarkian book by Jane Haddam was as intriguing as the first. Precious Blood deals with Catholic school classmates instead of family members, but the ties that bind are just as deadly.
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story takes place around Easter in Colchester, New York. Gregor is off to solve another mystery on behalf of his friend Father Tibor. A pretty good mystery, although the book is also interesting to read for its inside look at the workings of a Catholic church and its parochial school.
Jackson Matthews
Oh, it is hard to guess -- the clues are tricky tricky.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought-provoking regarding the Catholic Church but not as suspenseful as other Jane Haddam/Gregor Demarkian books.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the plotting and writing, but sometimes there are just too many characters to keep track of everyone. Not sure I'll continue with this series, for that reason. ...more
Marco Seidel
I read the German translation, titled "Ein moerderisches Osterwunder". Okay crime story. Personally, don't really relate to - nor care for - the religious theme. ...more
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
While the story itself was good, the details were enough off that I ground my teeth while reading it. For example, in this novel set in the 1990s, the author has "altar girls" and female Eucharistic Ministers as an oddity in the Roman Catholic Church. As a former Catholic, I can tell you for certain that both of these were common as early as the late '70s, and not noteworthy even to a Cardinal. (Well, at least to an Archbishop, since there were female altar servers and Eucharistic ministers at S ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
In my opinion, these are classic mysteries. Instead of all the cutesy and frankly, stupid antics of many cozy heroine and sometime heroes; here we have an intelligent, thoughtful and competent investigator - after all, he is a former FBI agent.

I don't even mind his private musings and the tangents he sometimes goes off on in his thoughts. I find them interesting and often thought provoking. I concede that they might annoy some people however.

The mysteries are complex. There are usually enough
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book Description:
Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, deadly Friday
Former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian is doing a friend a favor when he shows up in Colchester, New York. The Cardinal Archbishop has a problem: a young woman has been most mysteriously murdered, and one of his parish priests had the strongest of reasons for wanting her dead. But Father Andrew Walsh isn't the only one with a motive. It seems that quite a number of parishioners shared a damning past with the deceased.
Some suspicious saints,
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This book was published in 1991, and is the second in this series; I read the first one about the time this one came out, so it has been many years. I don't think it dawned on me until now that this is called the "Holiday" series; this one takes place around Good Friday, and Easter. The retired FBI detective who is the main character of this series, Gregor Demarkian, lives in the Armenian community of Philadelphia, but in this book he travels to Golchester N.Y., to assist the Catholic Cardinal t ...more
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Charlotte by:
One of the things that is almost unforgiveable in a mystery author is a factual error at a point that directly affects something that is critical to the story. It drags you out of the imagined world of the story and hits you upside the head with the fact that it isn't real. And it makes you wonder how much you can trust the author or the story -- what else will be wrong? Will it make a difference to how the story works out? I almost put this book down because of such an error -- but I didn't. Th ...more
Sheila Beaumont
This the second book in a favorite mystery series of mine. Now that all the books have been issued as Kindle e-books, I'm able to fill in the gaps in my paperback collection and reread the whole series, which has 28 books so far.

In Precious Blood, retired FBI agent Gregor Demarkian goes to Colchester, N.Y., as a favor to his friend Father Tibor Kasparian, to help out the Cardinal whose headquarters are there, and winds up with a series of puzzling murders to solve.

These mysteries are traditional
This is the second installment in the Gregor Demarkian series. Because it has been a long time since I read the first book, I had some memory lapse about the Philadelphia friends and neighbors. But that did not keep me from enjoying this book.
Gregor is an intelligent character, a retired, much-respected FBI agent and recent widower whose integrity is beyond question. He is quick to glean the truth from the mass of information he is given to solve a crime. There is humor in these books, but the i
Mar 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective, mystery-us
An enjoyable mystery. I liked being introduced to Gregor Demarkian, the 'Armenian - American Hercule Poirot' again. It's unfortunate that his two side-kicks, Father Tibor and Bennis Hannaford, didnt' accompany him on this trip to Chesterfield, NY as they do add something to the Demarkian mysteries. Having said that, it was still an excellent mystery, well-paced and interesting. The resolving of the mystery was somewhat pat, but didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story. It was well-written ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #14)
  • Death in Ecstasy (Roderick Alleyn, #4)
  • To Dwell in Darkness (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #16)
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming (Father Christmas Mystery #1)
  • Eleven Pipers Piping (Father Christmas Mystery #2)
  • Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #5)
  • Squeeze Me (Skink #8)
  • Echoed Defiance (Jacky Leon, #4)
  • A Medal for Murder (Kate Shackleton, #2)
  • The Nursing Home Murder (Roderick Alleyn, #3)
  • Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
  • Threshold of Annihilation (The Firebird Chronicles, #3)
  • Death Qualified (Barbara Holloway #1)
  • To Have and to Kill (Wedding Cake Mystery, #1)
  • The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #13)
  • Blood Ties (PI Julie Collins, #1)
  • Water Like a Stone (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #11)
  • Eating Dirt
See similar books…
Aka Orania Papazoglou

Jane Haddam (b. 1951) is an American author of mysteries. Born Orania Papazoglou, she worked as a college professor and magazine editor before publishing her Edgar Award–nominated first novel, Sweet, Savage Death, in 1984. This mystery introduced Patience McKenna, a sleuthing scribe who would go on to appear in four more books, including Wicked, Loving Murder (1985) and Rich,

Other books in the series

Gregor Demarkian (1 - 10 of 30 books)
  • Not a Creature was Stirring (Gregor Demarkian, #1)
  • Act of Darkness (Gregor Demarkian, #3)
  • Quoth the Raven (Gregor Demarkian, #4)
  • A Great Day for the Deadly (Gregor Demarkian, #5)
  • Feast of Murder (Gregor Demarkian, #6)
  • A Stillness in Bethlehem (Gregor Demarkian, #7)
  • Murder Superior (Gregor Demarkian, #8)
  • Dear Old Dead (Gregor Demarkian, #9)
  • Festival of Deaths (Gregor Demarkian, #10)
  • Bleeding Hearts (Gregor Demarkian, #11)

News & Interviews

  Die-hard mystery fans are always on the hunt for their next supremely satisfying whodunit. To help you stock that Want to Read shelf, we asked...
41 likes · 21 comments
“Police Headquarters was a relief. It was a monument to municipal graft in the twenties, when graft had really been graft, and Gregor could look on it with fondness. Politicians on the take didn’t invent a lot of pious nonsense for themselves in those days. They stole and knew they were stealing and reveled in it. Then they came up with something suitably high-minded to say on public occasions. To Gregor’s mind, that beat the tortured self-justifications of the present collection of venal senators and psychopathic congressmen by a mile and a half.” 1 likes
More quotes…