A Stillness in Bethlehem
Baker & Taylor
Arriving in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, to witness the town's nativity play, FBI agent Gregor Demarkian and his friend, Father Tibor Kasparian, find their vacation plans postponed by murder most foul
Blackwell North Amer
It's December in Bethlehem, Vermont.
Christmas is coming, but there's no deep and dreamless sleep for this little town. Instead, everyone's getting ready to stage the annual Christmas pageant and Nativity play - a weeks-long celebration that brings tourists from around the world who spend enough money to take care of a good one-third of the town budget. That has always come in handy, and in today's recession-torn New England, it's downright essential.
There's only one problem. The pageant is religious in nature, and it takes place on public land. One complaint could bring the whole tradition - and the town's finances - crashing down. Fortunately, no one's ever complained.
Tish Verek is an outsider, a true-crime writer who's been dragged away from the city and into the woods by her artist husband. She decides to stir up a little excitement, so she interrupts her current work (a book on children who've committed murder) to announce that she's going to seek an injunction to stop the pageant.
Everyone wants her stopped - the local boy who was a famous foreign correspondent, then came back to run the regional weekly; the battered wife who's been given the role of Mary and feels like somebody for the first time in her life; the Vietnam vet with a roomful of guns; the sheriff, who likes to read about big-time detectives like a certain Demarkian fellow; the local minister, whose newer-than-new theology apparently has nothing in it forbidding her to get cozy with another woman's man.
Nobody wants Tish to make it to the courthouse that December morning. That's why, when her corpse turns up riddled with rifle fire, there's more than a little sentiment for chalking it up to a hunting accident. But if it was an honest hunting accident, why hasn't the shooter come forward? And why was an apparently harmless old woman killed exactly the same way on that same morning?
Intent on finding the answers, former FBI man Gregor Demarkian slouches toward Bethlehem accompanied by Father Tibor Kasparian (for whom this is supposed to be a rest cure) and society-girl-turned-bestselling-fantasy-author Bennis Hannaford (whose connections were needed to get a room at the inn), and is once again swept into a case that mixes festival with felony. With his self-appointed (and overeager) assistants urging him on, Gregor has to summon the spirit of Christmas past to solve the murders yet to come.
Arriving in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, to witness the town's nativity play, FBI agent Gregor Demarkian and his friend, Father Tibor Kasparian, find their vacation plans postponed by murder most foul.
New York : Bantam Books, 1992.
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289 p. ; 24 cm.