Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Mystery Backlist - FUGITIVE COLORS

This week, the Monday Mystery Backlist title comes from my good friend Kaye Barley. Kaye keeps herself busy with her blog Meanderings and Musings, but today she took some time out to share with us about Margaret Maron's Sigrid Harald series and specifically FUGITIVE COLORS, so I'll let Kaye tell you all about it:

One of my favorite backlist titles is Margaret Maron's FUGITIVE COLORS.

I re-read it often, but only after I've re-read the first seven in her Sigrid Harald series; "One Coffee With," "Death of a Butterfly," "Death in Blue Folders," "The Right Jack," "Baby Doll Games," "Corpus Christmas," and "Past Imperfect." Then I read the eighth and final entry, "Fugitive Colors."

Although "One Coffee With" was released in 1981, and "Fugitive Colors" not until 1995, the series actually takes place during only a year.

In "One Coffee With" we meet NYPD Sigrid Harald, a cool, aloof loner, while she's investigating the murder of Riley Quinn, a member of the art department at New York's Vanderlyn College. There are suspects galore; unhappy students, a woman who's promotion he blocked, another faculty member who was having an affair with Quinn's wife and a handyman; an array of colorful characters.

During the investigation, Sigrid meets Oscar Naumann, Dept. Chair and world famous artist. Was he actually the intended victim?

As the series progresses, so does the relationship between Harald and Naumann. Oscar sees a beautiful, sensual woman beneath the cool reserve Sigrid has wrapped herself in. And we witness her slowly coming to believe in what Oscar sees. As the series progresses, we experience the love between Sigrid and Oscar as its grows and blossoms, and as a parallel, Sigrid's self confidence as it grows and blossoms as well.

One of the jewels in this series is the sixth - "Corpus Christmas." A holiday mystery in a wonderful old mansion reminiscent of the Isabelle Gardner Museum.

The next in the series, "Past Imperfect," finally answers questions hovering over the series, specifically in regard to Sigrid's father who was a detective in the NY city police division she is in.

This brings us to the last book in the series, "Fugitive Colors." The knowledge Sigrid has of the art world, thanks to Oscar, helps her solve another murder. In this entry we see a lovely, self-assured woman, not only in her professional life, but also within her own skin. It's been a joy watching Sigrid grow.

Another joy in the series were supporting characters; two in particular. Sigrid's mother, along with roommate Roman Tramegra, who bring humor and balance into Sigrid's life.

I keep hoping against hope that one of these days we just might see one more Sigrid Harald book.

FUGITIVE COLORS was published in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0892965670) by Mysterious Press in June of 1995. And in paperback (ISBN: 978-0446403931) also by Mystery Press in June of 1996.


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