As a preface to any review of the Sigrid Harald series, I think it only right to include the author's note from the final book "Fugitive Colors".
"Lieutenant Sigrid Harald, NYPD first appeared in... "One Coffee With" in 1981. "Fugitive Colors" is her eighth adventure, with each book set in what was - and is - the current "now."
"One Coffee With" began on a blue-sky sunny April day. Spring gave way to summer, then autumn in New York, followed by Christmas and one of the worst Februarys in the city's memory (in Sigrid's memory, too, unfortunately)
For the author, fourteen years have passed. For Sigrid Harald herself, no matter how much internal evidence alert readers may cite to the contrary, it has been only one short tumultuous year.
And now it is spring again. . . "
As mentioned, this jewel of a character study spans the course of eight full length novels plus two short stories, one, "Lieutenant Harald And the `Treasure Island' Treasure" was originally published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and the other, "Lieutenant Harald And The Impossible Gun" first appeared in Marilyn Wallace's fourth anthology. Both can be found in Margaret Maron's short story anthology "Shoveling Smoke".
As other reviewers have noted, these stories must be read in the correct order to fully understand the amazing transformation Sigrid goes through in the span of a short year, both internally and externally. And yet, all of the books can stand alone as well-plotted mysteries. This is the mark of Maron's true genius.
"Corpus Christmas" (1989) - On December 16, Oscar Nauman's agent, Jacob Munson, has arranged for a gala reception to be held at the Erich Bruel House, in hopes of persuading Nauman to allow the museum to mount a major retrospective of his works as a fundraiser for the failing museum. A relic of Manhattan's Gilded Age, the Erich Bruel House on Gramercy Park contained three floors of glorious art - and one Christmas corpse. Now it's up to Lieutenant Sigrid Harald to wrap up this homicide before the killer strikes again in this classic mystery.
Again, Sigrid's personal and private live become intertwined in this mystery. She first meets the victim and suspects as Nauman's escort to the reception, only to return hours later as the officer in charge of the murder investigation. It is this insider's edge that gives her insight into the solution of the case. A new character is introduced in this book, and reappears in the final two books. Elliott Bunrock is the hottest freelance curator in the art world. Sigrid meets him through Nauman, but they also strike up a friendship on their own terms.
This is probably the most lighthearted of all the Sigrid stories. The murder takes second place to the fascinating characters. Sigrid herself is in a great place in her life. She is happy with Nauman, pleased with her new apartment situation with Roman and secure in her professional life.