SCCC professor pens murder mystery novel

| 11 Dec 2013 | 03:15

Harold Damato is currently an assistant professor of history at Sussex County Community College and formerly served as its interim president. He has also been a collector, author and dealer of antiques. An avid reader of mystery novels, and going by the name H.H. Damato, he intertwines his knowledge of antiques with the intrigue of a murder mystery that takes place in the bucolic environs of north western New Jersey in his novel, "Murder Inspired."

Damato describes his novel as a “rainy day mystery” or the type of story one might compare to the style of an Agatha Christie or Nero Wolfe. In "Murder Inspired," the plot revolves around Alex Gregg, who liked nothing better than to live in the quiet of his antique business and the tranquil county side. A simple commission to authenticate an antique to supplement his cash starved business would shatter his tranquility and lead to death on his doorstep. At the center of the mystery is a wealthy, dysfunctional family in the entitled hunt country of western New Jersey. Everywhere he turns there are labyrinths of suspects, motives and ultimately death. Surrounded by intrigue and forced to prove his innocence Alex is torn between two strong, sultry women and an overbearing detective. At each turn the murderer remains a step ahead of him. Intuition and great deductive skills keep Alex on track, but how could he have imagined a simple rhyme about a cat would hold the answer? Would justice be served?

“In writing the novel I didn’t really start with the end in mind but let the characters and plot lead me through the storyline," Damato said. "I didn’t even know who the murderer would be at the outset and that helped me to create a variety of plot twists and keep things interesting. I felt that since I was having fun writing, readers would have fun as well.”

Damato writes when he’s not teaching and on weekends and says he immerses himself in the process — often losing track of time. He writes with readers in mind and leaves sufficient clues along the way in the hope they’ll figure out who the murder was at the end. Damato is already at work on his next novel, which will feature Alex, the principal character in "Murder Inspired."

If you’re wondering how much of H.H. Damato has formed the character of Alex, there’s a simple way to find out — "Murder Inspired" is currently available from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions and in paperback from Barnes & Noble.