FREDERICK RAMSAY SERIES:

    Holy Smoke: A Jerusalem Mystery

      Frederick Ramsay

Holy Smoke: A Jerusalem Mystery

The year is 29 C. E. and Jerusalem chafes under the Roman Empire's continued presence and oppressive rule. But in spite of that unpleasant fact of life, life goes on—but not for everyone. People die, some because it is their time, others by misadventure. One death in particular brings the City's daily routine to a halt. A badly scorched body is found behind the veil of The Holy of Holies—the Temple's inner sanctum, the most sacred space on earth for the Jews. No one except the High Priest may enter this place and he only once a year on the Day of Atonement. This is no casual violation and the authorities are in an uproar.Gamaliel, the Rabban of the Sanhedrin, the ranking rabbi in all of Judea, finds himself drawn into solving this delicate mystery while dark agents with unholy interests, plot to seize control of much of the trade in certain highly profitable imports from the east and west.Loukas, the physician, plays “Watson” to Gamaliel's “Sherlock” as the tangled web of intrigue and murder is slowly unraveled, but not before more bodies, both literal and figurative pop up. All the while Yeshua, the radical rabbi from the Galilee, continues to annoy the High Priest and smoke, Holy Smoke, from the sacrifices rise from the Temple.

Review

''The third in a trilogy set in first-century Jerusalem not only offers a finally wrought mystery, but includes intriguing information on the religious and secular life of the period.'' --Kirkus

''Ramsay earns high marks for the series' premise.'' --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Dr. Frederick Ramsay was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois-Westside Medical Campus. After a stint in the Army, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, teaching Anatomy, Embryology and Histology; engaged in research and also served as an Associate Dean. During this time he also pursued studies in theology and in 1971 was ordained an Episcopal priest. He is the author of several scientific and general articles, tracts, theses, and co-author of The Baltimore Declaration. He is an accomplished public speaker and once hosted a television spot, Prognosis, on the evening news for WMAR-TV, Baltimore. He is also an iconographer with works displayed around the world. He lives in Surprise, Arizona with his wife and partner, Susan.

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    5 - Choker: Ike Schwartz Mystery 5

      Frederick Ramsay

5 - Choker: Ike Schwartz Mystery 5

Nick Reynolds, his pilot’s rating barely a month old, drops off the radar at night over the Chesapeake Bay. Investigating agencies call it another tragic pilot error accident. No trace of the plane is found in the Bay’s murky waters. Ike Schwartz, erstwhile sheriff of Picketsville, on vacation, is approached by Charlie Garland, an old CIA friend, to look into the disappearance. The missing pilot was engaged to Charlie’s niece and the family is not dealing well with the lack of closure. More importantly, Nick, just before his disappearance, had placed a call to Charlie moments leading him to conclude something more than pilot error might be involved in the disappearance. Ike accepts the assignment as a favor to Charlie and also because vacations do not work for him. Ike’s wide-eyed entry into a simple missing person’s case catapults him into an international thriller á la Robert Ludlum with intimations of terrorism that might threaten the nation and its leaders. Clandestine operations, angry watermen, and out of place dredging spoil complicate Ike’s efforts to unravel the mystery.

**

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    7 - Rogue: Ike Schwartz Mystery 7

      Frederick Ramsay

7 - Rogue: Ike Schwartz Mystery 7

Ike Schwartz and Ruth Harris had to delay a vacation in Las Vegas because at the last moment, Ruth was required to go to Scone Island, Maine to settle an estate. But that task is soon complicated by one, and then another suspicious death. First, a long term resident slips off a cliff. Was he pushed? Then the woman, who found the body, is, in turn, discovered on a foot path dead from an apparent heart attack, but also with a not easily explained head wound. Ruth finds herself briefly cast as a person of interest in the last death. When things seem to be slipping out of hand, Ike arrives just in time to witness the discovery of a third body—Simon Weiss. Weiss had come to the island to purchase properties with an eye to turning it into a high-end resort. His tactics and personality so alienated the residents that it is no surprise his body is found under the community pier, with a very professionally placed bullet hole in his forehead. As his plans were allegedly financed by the New York mafia, it seems obvious who ordered the hit. This brings the FBI into play, to the distress of the local police. With an array of suspects, motives, and even the island’s history to confound the investigation, Ike, with the aid of local Deputy Sheriff, Tom Stone, and the able, if quirky, assistance of Ruth, unravel these three deaths, but not without heavy costs to villains, residents, and their children.

Review

Praise for Frederick Ramsay's Stranger Room:
''Ramsay skillfully weaves historical fact into his story, all the while blending brisk action with excellent characterization. Schwartz has matured throughout the series, and readers will eagerly await his next adventure.'' --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

FREDERICK RAMSAY was born in Baltimore, MD, graduated from Washington and Lee University and received his doctorate from the University of Illinois. After a stint in the Army, he joined the University of Maryland, School of Medicine faculty. In 1971 was ordained an Episcopal priest and served in several parishes until retirement. He currently lives in Surprise, Arizona, with his wife and partner, Susan. He writes the 'Ike Schwartz Mysteries', along with a series set in Botswana, and he has two stand alones.

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    The Wolf and the Lamb

      Frederick Ramsay

The Wolf and the Lamb

It's Passover. Gamaliel, and his physician friend, Loukas, are crime-solving a third time - reluctantly. Pontius Pilate has been accused of murder. He denies the crime. If convicted, he might escape death but would be removed from Judea. Those rejoicing urge the Rabban to mind his own business. But Gamaliel is a Just Man which is, as Pilate points out, "your weakness and also your strength."

Knowing that exonerating the Roman could cost him his position, possibly his life, Gamaliel, as would Sherlock Holmes centuries later, examines evidence and sorts through tangled threads, teasing out suspects who include assassins, Roman nobles, Pilate's wife, rogue legionnaires, slaves, servants, thespians, and a race horse named Pegasus. Unusually, justice triumphs over enmity. Gamaliel is satisfied, High Priest Caiphas is irate, Loukas accepts an apprentice from Tarsus, and few notice the events of what will later be known as Easter.

Ramsay's plausible narrative answers some questions which have puzzled Biblical scholars for centuries. Why did Pilate hear the case against Jesus? Why invent a tradition that required one prisoner be released at Passover? Having done so, why offer the most terrifying criminal in the country, Barabbas, as the substitute for Jesus when two better, less dangerous prisoners were at hand? And we ask, why could Caiphas not heed Gamaliel's warnings not to martyr the man?  

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    1 - Artscape: Ike Schwartz Mystery 1

      Frederick Ramsay

1 - Artscape: Ike Schwartz Mystery 1

...here he stood in the sweltering Shenandoah Valley, his shirt already damp at nine-thirty in the morning and a whole day ahead of him. Sheriff Ike Schwartz, duly elected by the people and sworn to enforce the laws of the United States, the State of Virginia, the County of Rockbridge and the incorporated town of Picketsville. He was also expected to bend those laws here and there, overlook the kids with a keg in Craddock's woods, the incestuous family of Craddock himself, and turn a blind eye to the broken speed limits, parking violations, and certain cash transactions entered into by members of the Town Council. An easy life, all in all. He reckoned as negligible the number of serious crimes, difficult cases, or dangerous situations he experienced. And then...

From Publishers Weekly

Small-town sheriffs come in all shapes and sizes, but Ike Schwartz, who dominates Ramsay's solid debut, is both engaging and extravagantly overqualified for the job. Ike retreats to his hometown of Picketsville, Va., and wins the job of sheriff after a personal disaster in a botched CIA operation. In quiet Picketsville, Ike's biggest worries are domestic squabbles, speeding tickets and an occasional problem with a Callend College student. It's Callend's superb art collection, valued at half a billion dollars and protected by a state-of-the-art security system, that changes all that. Funded by terrorists, and using a disaffected federal agent, mobsters plan to hijack the collection and hold it for ransom. The smoothly planned operation goes off with several hitches, including a killing and the taking of hostages. Callend president Ruth Harris, who believes Ike to be the stereotypical small-town sheriff, is screaming for "higher" authorities to take charge. Laid-back but decisive, Ike does that, calling on his experience, his country roots and old allies as he matches wits with the savvy professionals who committed the crime. While Ike emerges as the most fully developed character, several secondary characters stand out as well, as Ramsay nicely mixes town and gown, sophisticates and rustics, thugs and masterminds. Ike Schwartz seems destined for a bright future.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Not quite mystery, not quite espionage, this occasionally awkward hybrid still manages to juggle its various tangents well enough to keep the pages turning. When Sheriff Ike Schwartz is called in to investigate the theft of a multimillion-dollar art collection from a local college, the trail is almost cold, college officials having deemed local law enforcement incapable of handling anything more than drunken students and traffic violators. But Schwartz is no rube. A former CIA agent, he is better prepared than most to handle matters, and it doesn't take him long to find out that a former FBI agent is involved in the crime and that the thieves are merely henchmen for folks who want the art for something other than its black-market value. A romance for Ike adds spice to the mix, as does the unraveling of the events surrounding Ike's quitting the Company. Ramsay tries to get cozy with a few too many characters here, but Ike's personal story is appealing enough to get readers over the occasional bumps in the road. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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    Scone Island

      Frederick Ramsay

Scone Island

Ike Schwartz, Sheriff of Picketsville, Virginia, and Ruth Dennis, the President of a local university and Ike’s fiancée cannot find peace and quiet be at home after a trying year of academic and local politics. So, they elect to seek asylum on Scone Island, a rocky island four miles off the coast of Maine. Its lack of electricity, reliable water supply, and phone service guarantee their seclusion and peace. The fact there has been a suspicious accident resulting in the death of the mysterious Harmon Staley should not concern them at all. And it doesn’t until Ike’s past as a CIA agent rolls in on him like the area’s famous twelve foot tides. Two more murders involving former colleagues elsewhere in the country send Charlie Garland, Ike’s old friend from the Agency searching the files for a connection. Stonewalling by the CIA, conspiracies, real and imagined, end with Ike and Ruth facing an unknown but determined number of assassins alone on the island.

As if that were not enough, Ruth’s mother decides to drop in on them just as the excitement begins. A late arrival by the Director of the CIA and Charlie only make things worse for Ruth who opts for Plan B—Las Vegas—in the hopes that she and Ike can finally get lost in the crowd. And good luck with that.

Review

"Fast pacing, plot twists, and multiple points of view keep the pages turning in this consistently entertaining series." — Booklist review by Sue O’Brien

"The latest mystery-thriller for Ike (Rogue, 2011, etc.) provides all the fast-paced action and danger readers have come to expect"—Kirkus

"Ramsey’s engaging eighth Ike Schwartz mystery...will amuse literary and history buffs" —Publishers Weekly

2006 Publishers Weekly 100 Best Books for Impulse
2008 Arizona Book Award, Religion and Spirituality for Judas
2009 Arizona Book Award, Mystery and Suspense Finalist for Stranger Room

About the Author

Dr. Frederick Ramsay was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois-Westside Medical Campus. After a stint in the Army, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, teaching Anatomy, Embryology and Histology; engaged in research and also served as an Associate Dean. During this time he also pursued studies in theology and in 1971 was ordained an Episcopal priest. He is the author of several scientific and general articles, tracts, theses, and co-author of The Baltimore Declaration. He is an accomplished public speaker and once hosted a television spot, Prognosis, on the evening news for WMAR-TV, Baltimore. He is also an iconographer with works displayed around the world. He lives in Surprise, Arizona with his wife and partner, Susan.

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    The Vulture

      Frederick Ramsay

The Vulture

Marry new technology to old-fashioned policing and you;ve got something special.The car is found just outside Picketsville, Virginia, a smoking ruin of twisted metal and shattered glass. It takes only a glance to confirm that this is Ike Schwartz;s car. Ever since he left the CIA, the incorruptible Picketsville sheriff has made enemies at home and abroad. Now, one has caught up with him, with a bomb powerful enough to turn quiet Main Street into a smoking crater. Is this a cop killing"or domestic terrorism?The town plunges into mourning, and Ike;s wife Ruth, the president of the local college, puts on a brave face as the sheriff;s department organizes a manhunt, the likes of which Picketsville has never seen. Back at the CIA, Ike;s old colleague Charlie Garland joins the hunt, becoming fixated on a blurry videotape of the crime scene. Charlie;s elastic job description includes monitoring Ike;s life.Investigations"led by more than one player"fan around and out of Picketsville as...

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    Drowning Barbie

      Frederick Ramsay

Drowning Barbie

Ethyl Smut, everyone agreed, deserved to die. Drugs, child abuse, a life wasted. But murder is murder and killers must be brought to justice. But when a second body is unearthed in Ethyl's shallow grave and the nightmarish George LeBrun also finds his way to Ike's desk, things get messy fast. Then there is Ethyl's missing daughter, Darla, who could testify against some important people if she were found. And as if Ike hadn't enough on his plate, former CIA coworkers Karl Hedrick and Sam arrive to investigate the source of the second body. It's like old home week in Picketsville. Finally, there is the ongoing saga of Ike and Ruth's engagement that friend and foe alike insist be settled one way or another. Can Ike solve these cases before his altar date?

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    Holy Smoke

      Frederick Ramsay

Holy Smoke

The year is 29 C. E. and Jerusalem chafes under the Roman Empire's continued presence and oppressive rule. But in spite of that unpleasant fact of life, life goes on—but not for everyone. People die, some because it is their time, others by misadventure. One death in particular brings the City's daily routine to a halt. A badly scorched body is found behind the veil of The Holy of Holies—the Temple's inner sanctum, the most sacred space on earth for the Jews. No one except the High Priest may enter this place and he only once a year on the Day of Atonement. This is no casual violation and the authorities are in an uproar.

Gamaliel, the Rabban of the Sanhedrin, the ranking rabbi in all of Judea, finds himself drawn into solving this delicate mystery while dark agents with unholy interests, plot to seize control of much of the trade in certain highly profitable imports from the east and west.

Loukas, the physician, plays "Watson" to Gamaliel's "Sherlock" as the tangled web...

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    Judas

      Frederick Ramsay

Judas

Questions about JUDAS ISCARIOT tantalized scholars, clergy, and laypersons. Why did he betray JESUS, then no more than an obscure itinerant rabbi? Why did Jesus select him to be one of his closest and most trusted associates in the first place? Jesus claimed a special relationship with God. Should he not have anticipated his betrayal? Is it possible, then, that the two were co-conspirators in Jesus martyrdom? Unlike the many recent "Gospels of Judas" which appeared after the release of the National Geographic special, this book tells a plausible and compelling story-a story of a boy turned man but whose loyalty will be compromised by zealotry on the one hand and vanity on the other. The child Judas, the illegitimate offspring of a Jewish woman and a Roman soldier, struggles to understand his mother's god, a god who allows terrible things to happen to him and his family. Despairing, he abandons any hope of ever finding that god and becomes a survivor in the brutal streets that characterized the Roman Empire in the first century. Later, as a young man determined to avenge the wrongs committed against his mother and sister, he returns to the land of his birth hoping to join the rebels led by Barabbas, only to be betrayed by them as well. Beaten and broken he is brought to the community of Zealots at Qumran and eventually to the one forming around Rabbi Jesus. During this journey he discovers God and is baptized into messianic anticipation. His enthusiasm for revolution lead him to out-guess God. He proceeds down a path that will result in a difficult, and for him and others, fateful choice. In the end, faced with the consequences of that decision, friendless and without his master, he retreats to the outskirts of Jerusalem there to bring an end to his journey, perhaps to start another. Audience: Readers of religious fiction, historical fiction-believers and non-believers alike. Iscariot will appeal to all segments of society. It is primarily an unraveling of a mystery, not an espousal of a particular theological or religious point of view.  

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    The Eighth Veil

      Frederick Ramsay

The Eighth Veil

The Eighth Veil is a mystery set in the year 28 CE in Jerusalem during the feast of Tabernacles. A murdered servant girl is found in the palace of King Herod Antipas. The Prefect, Pontius Pilate is in attendance. The populace is still buzzing over the brutal death of one of their Prophets, John, known familiarly as the Baptizer, and scandal is in the air. Pilate wants no trouble and insists an independent investigation into the murder be made. Antipas will have none of Pilate's men in the palace and Pilate doesn't trust Antipas. Gamaliel, the chief rabbi and head of the Sanhedrin is coerced by Pilate to do the detective work. Gamaliel is a Talmudic scholar, not a sleuth, and at first struggles. But as he learns more of the dead girl's background and that of the other major players in the drama, particularly Menahem, Antipas' foster brother, he soon becomes eon over to the process and, Sherlockian-like, begins to fit the pieces together. Or, as his "Watson" Loukas says, strips the veils from his personal Salome. The girl turns out not to be the mere servant everyone assumed, in spite of his impatience with the pace and direction of the investigation Pilate is rewarded and the fascinating, little told but critically entwined, histories of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Herod the Great, Anthony and Augustus Caesar, and the Battle of Actium suddenly seems more relevant to the Gospel narratives than anyone might have previously imagined. Meanwhile, the figure of Jesus, the rabbi from Nazareth, with his ragged band of enthusiasts and his habit of annoying Caiaphas, the High Priest, moves enigmatically in the background.  

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    2 - Secrets: Ike Schwartz Mystery 2

      Frederick Ramsay

2 - Secrets: Ike Schwartz Mystery 2

Waldo Templeton was, at best, a mediocre organist. He was also careless, so his killer was able to follow him to the sanctuary of Stonewall Jackson Memorial Church in Picketsville, VA, and dispatch him. Then the Vicar’s secretary follows Waldo to an early grave. The Vicar, the Reverend Blake Fisher, sent to Picketsville when his ambition overcame his common sense, had had enough trouble in Philadelphia. He did not need a corpse behind his altar. He did not need his gun to be stolen, and he definitely did not need the local police breathing down his back as a suspect in a double murder. Aided by the computer wizardry of his newest deputy, Sam (Samantha) Ryder and the country wisdom of Billy Sutherlin, Sheriff Ike Schwartz must sort through false leads, the unsolicited helpfulness of a politically connected parishioner and missing counseling files belonging to Blake’s predecessor. Then the Vicar himself becomes the killer’s third target.... Secrets is the sequel to Ramsay’s first novel, Artscape, featuring Sheriff Ike Schwartz.

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    4 - Stranger Room: Ike Schwartz Mystery 4

      Frederick Ramsay

4 - Stranger Room: Ike Schwartz Mystery 4

The elderly Jonathan Lydell III is proud of his family history. He is related to the Virginia Lees (both Light Horse Harry and Robert E. Lee) and to the Custis family (and thus to George Washington). But these connections donat seem to matter to the current generation. In fact, they seem utterly disinterested in family, history, or position. But for Lydell, family history is the only real thing leftathat and his antebellum house. Lydell is committed to restoring the home to its antebellum configuration, complete with a stranger roomaan attached room with its own entrance, separately locked and kept for use by unknown travelers. Found in many family homes in the 1800s, the room was intended to protect the family from unsavory guests. Nearly 150 years ago, an inexplicable murder took place in the locked stranger room of the Lydell house. The murderer was never caught. As far as Lydell is concerned, this brutal history just adds to the rich character of the house. But when a new, identical murder is committed in the same room, not even sheriff Ike Schwartz and FBI agent Karl Hedrick can explain it. Why would history repeat itself? What could explain these identical murders? Could the Lydell family history hold the key? The fourth novel in the Ike Schwartz series.

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    Copper Kettle

      Frederick Ramsay

Copper Kettle

It's 1920. Jesse Sutherlin has returned to Buffalo Mountain a war hero, having after survived the trenches of World War I. Not only did he fight the enemy, reaching the rank of officer, he went a few rounds with some of his fellow soldier who viewed him as a hillbilly.Jesse is glad to be home. But his view of the world and of himself has changed. What next? He can't shake his training as an officer to follow the old lifestyle. He applies for a job at the local sawmill where his new boss quickly makes him foreman for a decent wage. And he meets the independent Serena Barker.His cousin and fellow soldier, Solomon McAdoo, was less fortunate in his war service. He's suffering from shell shock. One day, up on the mountain while tending to a family moonshine still owned by Big Tom McAdoo, he's shot in the back. When Jesse hears this, he knows violence is going to boil up. The west side of the mountain is McAdoo territory, while the east side belongs to the Lebruns. The dispute...

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    Danger Woman

      Frederick Ramsay

Danger Woman

In Botswana, people of the north live in harmony with the wildlife, yet predators and poachers freely roam. The lions may be kings, but hyenas will steal their prey. A Chobe Game Park pack led by the alpha female is especially fearless. The locals call her Kotsi Mosadi, Setswana for Danger Woman.Following a recent rash of deaths and dismembered body parts appearing in the park, District Superintendent Sanderson is alerted to the discovery of a ravaged human skull, believed to be the work of the Russian Bratva. Fresh from St. Petersburg, led by Oleg Lenka, these mafiosi think it will be a cinch to take over the region's high-end tourist trade and in particular the casino/hotel operation that is the fiercely held, final dream of American billionaire Leo Painter. Sanderson's friend and, it must be said, her lover, Inspector Kgabo Modise of the Botswana Police Service, is tasked to remove them. Arriving from Gabarone, deploying limited staff undercover, Modise is quickly swept...

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