Friday, October 14, 2016

American Quartet - A Fiona Fitzgerald Novel by Warren Adler - A Timely NYT Notable Crime Story

We can no longer suffer the consequences of less-than-great presidential leadership. Some way must be found to provide the conduit for the best qualified, absolutely the best, to step forward and stand for this high office. We no longer have the luxury to be led by second-rate men. He had agonized over the addition of “women” and finally had succumbed. He needed the broadest possible base of empathy. Men and women, he had written finally.

American Quartet:
A Fiona Fitzgerald Novel

By Warren Adler

“I don’t want anyone in this room.” 
A startled MPD policeman reluctantly shooed away the growing crowd. 
“Bullshit,” a voice boomed.
Turning, she confronted a red, glowering face. “This is my beat, baby. You can’t keep me out of here.” He flashed a badge and an ID. “Barrows. Chief of Smithsonian police.” 
She let herself cool, standing her ground. In the distance the ambulance siren was already screaming. “Just securing the scene,” she said calmly. “Fitzgerald, MPD Homicide.” 
He watched her, unsure, still angry. She knew what his tongue wanted to say: “You little uppity twat.” Conditioned to the reaction, she waited for him to regain control. “The lab team will be here shortly.” It’s a publicity case, she realized suddenly. They’ll all be here, including the Eggplant. Inside she groaned.

Both history and political readers will enjoy Warren Adler's American Quartet. Me, not so much, I am quite appalled with what is happening with this election and could not help but support a quote for less-than-great leadership, even if said by the villain!

 I enjoyed the book for the totally captivating mystery presented. I admit it, just like Fiona Fitzgerald, lead officer on the first case, I wasn't able to pick up one clue... And Adler obviously knew it, so he began to have the "villain" involved directly with readers. Still, until one fateful conversation late in the book where he practically boasted about it to Fiona, and readers, were we able to begin to understand...the motive...

I wasn't too sure about Fiona at first, though. She had an inherited involvement with politics but instead had become a police officer. On the job, she was beginning to show her stuff, but then we meet her lover...all I can say is that he is a stereotypical politician and I was not thrilled to meet him... and have no idea how I came to pick Alec Baldwin to play the character... although I admit he has had some sexy moments in his career... when he wasn't playing other roles, such as this politician did... I won't even go into his persona...

Image result for pic of Alec Baldwin

“I promised Bruce the whole weekend,” Fiona said. “With his kids at camp and the House out….” Crazy, she thought, how their lovers’ time was dictated by outside forces. She was proud of him, a member of Congress, although she had come to detest politics after her father, the Senator, had died. For Bruce’s part he admired her cop career as an exercise in female pluck; even so, she suspected that deep down he considered it an aberration, despite it being an accepted female profession in the modern world...

American Quartet (Fiona Fitzgerald Mysteries Book 1) by [Adler, Warren]The first victim was found dead in front of a picture in the American Art section... It was impossible for the crime scene members not to begin to look around at all paintings that covered the wall.

The problem was that there were very few clues...other that they learned that the bullets were very old... 

Before they could get a handle on the first case, a second, and then a third occurred. All had some relationship to public buildings but there was nothing to tie the victims together.

Except Fiona Fitzgerald's intuition...

“It’s gallery sixty-seven, American At.” Fiona was sketching the scene in her notepad. Pausing, she stared at John Singer Sargent’s “Portrait of Mrs. Chamberlain”. It was a powerful painting, reaching out to her, deflecting her concentration. The centerpiece on the side of the room in which the victim had been killed was called “The Bersenglien,” a painter she had never heard of—Lukas. It was a colorful street scene bedecked with flags. The man had fallen at the foot of the picture beside it—“Allies Day, 1917,” by the impressionist Childe Hassam. The scene was familiar, Fifth Avenue, New York. She recognized St. Patrick’s Cathedral, American flags waving in the breeze. Next to it, near the entrance to the gallery, an enigmatic observer, “Edith Reynolds,” painted by Robert Henri, seemed to mock Fiona’s gruesome task.

One major change occurred that affected the case. Fiona's partner was removed from the case, and a Black officer was assigned. The tension between Blacks and Whites among police officers could become problematic. Fortunately, Fiona was able to work through issues with Jefferson, her new partner and when she began to move forward in a totally new direction, Jefferson was willing to go along... So was the ME and, later, their commander, but only with their investigation being done in secret... Why? Because it first sounded so crazy?!?

I'm not even going to tell you about Fiona cutting out on Bruce one night, even though he was asking her to marry him...

Nor am I going to tell you where Fiona got the idea that ultimately led to the climatic closing. I'm just going to say, once again, that Adler is brilliant in creating crime scene mysteries that are so complex, yet so seemingly easy once you "get it" later in the book!

Oh, yeah, I must apologize to the author for a little bit of my own brand of humor amidst this fascinating story he has weaved... Or should I say, that the quote from the villain made me think how timely my reading of this book was since America is right in the middle of the presidential election... Could the villain really have the right idea even if he was a psychopath? And couldn't the point be made without his actions? Warren Adler, you certainly made this reader respond to your thought-provoking, controversial background issues in your books! Kudos!

A small stage had been prepared in the East Room and the guests sat about in a semicircle of folding chairs. Somehow, he found himself two rows behind the President, who sat with his wife and honored guests in the first row. Remington opened the program. They would be presenting Hands Across the Sea, one of three works by Noël Coward always presented as Tonight at Eight-Thirty. He had seen it years ago and remembered reading that it was now in rehearsal for a revival at the Kennedy Center.


Warren Adler is best known for The War of the Roses, his masterpiece fictionalization of a macabre divorce turned into the Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated dark comedy hit starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. In addition to the success of the stage adaptation of his iconic novel on the perils of divorce, Adler has optioned and sold film rights to more than a dozen of his novels and short stories to Hollywood and major television networks. Random Hearts (starring Harrison Ford and Kristen Scott Thomas), The Sunset Gang (starring Jerry Stiller, Uta Hagen, Harold Gould and Doris Roberts), Private Lies, Funny Boys, Madeline’s Miracles, Trans-Siberian Express and his Fiona Fitzgerald mystery series are only a few titles that have forever left Adler’s mark on contemporary American authorship from page to stage to screen. Learn more about Warren Adler at

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