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Precious Blood

(Gregor Demarkian #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  44 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
Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Road (first published March 1st 1991)
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 ·  530 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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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: mystery, religion
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
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.
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.
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 ...more
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
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.
Demarkian is a great character. This one suffers from too much background that didn't feel organic and grounded. Demarkian mentioned that a particular event kept bubbling up, but it didn't really feel like it did. It felt like the author just kept shoving it into the spotlight. Still an enjoyable read.
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.
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.
Jackson Matthews
Oh, it is hard to guess -- the clues are tricky tricky.
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 ...more
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,
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
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 ...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. ...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
Mar 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-us, detective
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 ...more
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going back and reading all of Jane Haddam's Gregor Demarkian books,as I am sure I have missed several over the years! Haddam's Demarkian mysteries are good despite the danger of the cutesy holiday premise. The ones with a religious setting such as this one are particularly good. Demarkian is an expert at wending his way through tight-lipped communities with secrets of their own. An ex-FBI often called into consult on delicate cases and a murder in a Catholic church is more than delicate. ...more
Dennis Fischman
On the plus side, this book gave me a vivid sense of what it would be like to live in small, overwhelmingly Catholic town in upstate New York, an experience I'd never have otherwise. On the other, none of the characters were remotely appealing. If it weren't for the viewpoint character, Gregor Demarkian, I would have never finished the book.
Book Concierge
A 20-year-old teenage indiscretion comes back to haunt the central characters of this murder mystery that takes place at Easter. Haddam would have us believe that Gregor Demarkian is “the Armenian-American Hercule Poirot.” I’m not so sure. It’s poorly plotted, with lots of red herrings. I think the author is trying too hard.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Having discovered the early books are available as ebooks I picked up this series again after reading, and loving, the first. I liked the Roman Catholic Easter details (though I can't verify their authenticity). I found the ending a bit unsatisfying as I wanted more details of the victim and murderer prior life together. Onto to #3 which has a July 4th background.
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second in the Demarkian series, this is a fun, 'cozy'-type mystery. I always enjoy a mystery with good characters, some interesting trivia (this time about the workings of a Catholic parish), and a dwindling list of suspects!
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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 29 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)
“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
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