Diamonds for the Dead [NOOK Book]


Diamonds for the Dead is a 2010 Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel.

When Josh Handleman returns to his boyhood home to sit shiva for his estranged father, he gets the shock of his life: his frugal dad was a diamond collector worth millions. Now the gems are missing and Josh begins to suspect his father’s death might have been murder, not an accident.

Hounded by grief and remorse, Josh resolves to find his dad’s diamond stash. His ...

See more details below
Diamonds for the Dead

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$8.99 price
(Save 10%)$9.99 List Price


Diamonds for the Dead is a 2010 Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel.

When Josh Handleman returns to his boyhood home to sit shiva for his estranged father, he gets the shock of his life: his frugal dad was a diamond collector worth millions. Now the gems are missing and Josh begins to suspect his father’s death might have been murder, not an accident.

Hounded by grief and remorse, Josh resolves to find his dad’s diamond stash. His emotion-laden treasure hunt throws him into the middle of a feud between two stubborn old Russian Jews—and puts Josh squarely in the sights of his father’s killer.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Josh Handleman goes home to Reston, VA, to bury his father and finds that Dad kept many secrets, among them a collection of diamonds that is now missing. The discovery that his father had a life after his son moved out comes as a shock to Josh, as it would to most children. VERDICT A neat mystery and a pleasant Jewish background add to this debut novel.
Publishers Weekly
At the start of Orloff's thought-provoking debut, Josh Handleman, who's separated from his wife in San Francisco, returns home to Reston, Va., to take care of his late father's estate. Josh is shocked to learn that not only was his father, Abe, a secret multimillionaire who generously helped many charities, in particular the Reston Hebrew Home, but the fatal fall Abe took might not have been accidental. He also discovers that Abe collected diamonds, which have vanished, as well as a boarder still in the house—Kassian, a scruffy, elderly Russian overly fond of vodka. Josh is consumed with curiosity after his father's best friend, Lev Yurishenko, accuses Kassian of killing Abe. Josh's hunt for the missing diamonds and a possible killer leads to more disturbing revelations as well as some emotional healing courtesy of the sister of an old high school classmate. Likable characters more than compensate for some slow pacing. (Apr.)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738723723
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 499,804
  • File size: 886 KB

Meet the Author

Alan Orloff is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Md. He is the author of Diamonds for the Dead, an Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel, and Killer Routine. Orloff earned a B.S. from the University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from MIT/Sloan. He resides in northern Virginia. For more information, visit him online at:

Read More Show Less

First Chapter



Midnight Ink

Copyright © 2010 Alan Orloff
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1948-1

Chapter One

No one had bothered to move the cane.

I stepped into the foyer and dropped my two large suitcases on the gray slate-tiled floor, eyes focused on my father's cane. It had come to rest at the base of the wall opposite the flight of stairs he'd tumbled down. No one had bothered to move it. Overlooked or ignored, didn't matter. Dead men had no use for canes.

Erik clattered in behind me. "Where do you want these, Josh?" Before I could answer, he dumped two duffel bags next to the suitcases. "How about there?" he asked, with a hint of a smile.

"Thanks. I'll take care of them later. And thanks for picking me up at the airport." The words came out lifeless. I'd taken the red-eye to Dulles from San Francisco after waiting standby all afternoon, too much on my mind to get any restful sleep.

"No problem. What are friends for, anyway?"

I nodded, keeping a snappy retort to myself. Didn't have the energy for verbal jousting.

Erik looked around, eyes never settling. "This place brings back memories. We had some good times here."

I nodded again. Erik Nolan had been my closest friend in high school and the best man at my wedding. We'd had tons of good times, here and throughout the Northern Virginia suburbs.

"Your father was a good man. He'll be missed by a lot of people," Erik said. "Katy sends her condolences. And her love, of course."

"Thanks. Give her a kiss for me," I said, stomach punctuating my request with a plaintive growl. A Snickers bar and four bags of stale airplane pretzels hadn't done the job. "Hungry?"

He glanced at his watch. "Sorry. Gotta run. Deposition."

"On a Saturday?"

"Justice never takes a day off," he said, then pursed his lips. "Listen, when you feel up to it, there's something we need to discuss. And sooner's better than later."


"About the estate." In addition to being my best friend, Erik had been my father's attorney for years.

"What about it?"

"Oh, now you feel like talking?" Erik asked. I hadn't spoken much on the short ride over. Every time he tried to start a conversation, I'd cut him off. He tapped his watch with a knuckle. "Josh, I'm sorry. I need to get rolling. Got to stop home and change. Besides, it's business. We should do it at my office. I'm free between two and five this afternoon, if you get a chance."

"I'll try to squeeze it in."

Erik rolled his eyes, cocked his head. "You going to be all right?"


"How come I don't believe you?" he asked.

"I'll be fine. Really."

"Okay. I know better than to argue." As was his tradition, Erik engulfed me in a bear hug, one slightly less crippling than the hug he'd crushed me with at the airport. When he broke it off he said, "Anything you need, just holler." With a final pat on the shoulder, he pushed through the front door, jogged down the walkway, hopped into his car, and zoomed away. I guess justice didn't like to be kept waiting, either.

I closed the door and shrugged off my jacket. Flopped it on top of the bags. Worked the kinks out of my aching muscles, long trip finally finished.

My attention drifted back to the cane. I walked over and picked it up. Hefted it a couple times. Solid and smooth, save for a few chips gouged out of the curved handle. The beige rubber tip on the bottom contrasted with the dark wood. No ergonomic grip, no ornately carved ivory handle. No space-age lightweight alloy. No racing stripes.

Although my father had used a cane for years, I'd never thought of him as frail. Had others? I hooked the handle around the newel of the banister. The tip bounced against the post with a dull thump, sending a faint echo through the house where I'd been raised.

First food, then a nap. I still had a few hours before I needed to be at Lansky's Funeral Home to finalize the arrangements I'd started yesterday on the phone.

I wandered into the kitchen, trailing my fingers along the top of the old oak table we'd gathered around for family meals. I'd done my homework on it, played games on it, constructed papier-mâché volcanoes on it. Had countless conversations around it. Back when Mom was still alive, and I was in grade school, and we resembled a regular family, dealing with all the mundane problems a family faces. Before my father got on my case for my lack of ambition and I tuned him out every chance I could.

At the fridge I paused, eyeing the lone piece of paper stuck to the door with the promotional magnets my father used to advertise his real estate business. A washed-out family portrait on frayed yellow paper, the artist's signature-JOSH, all caps-barely legible. Three generic smiling faces. A mommy, a daddy, and a boy, standing in front of a generic house, complete with smoke curling up from the box-like chimney. An authentic Josh Handleman, circa 978, when I was about six years old. My Magic Marker period. My father never threw anything away, but I didn't remember seeing this masterpiece posted in such a high-traffic spot.

A low moaning noise startled me. I froze. Twenty seconds later, I heard it again, coming from the in-law suite downstairs. I tiptoed through the kitchen into the foyer. Stopped. Concentrated. Another moan. Or maybe it was a groan.

Had Erik returned to yank my chain? Unlikely, even taking into account his fondness for pranks. I considered calling the cops. Was I being skittish? What would they say if they came barging in, SWAT-style, and found a rabid squirrel running amok in the basement? I could do without the embarrassment-and the commotion. I slipped my father's cane off the banister and crept downstairs.

When I reached the bottom, I stopped. Five feet away, the bedroom door was ajar, but I couldn't see anything from my viewpoint. "Hello?" I called out, softly at first, then louder. "Hello?" I inched toward the door.

Rustling, followed by a muffled cough. Definitely not an animal. "Hello? Anybody there?"

No answer.

Stepping forward, I used the rubber tip of the cane to slowly push the door open. It creaked on its hinges.

A white-haired man in a gray cardigan sweater sprawled on top of the bedcovers, dirty black dress shoes still laced to his feet. One arm dangled off the bed, fingers six inches from an empty liquor bottle upended on the floor. The stink of sweat and alcohol and urine washed over me as I stood there, cane in hand, mouth agape.

The man opened his eyes, red-rimmed and glassy, tilting his head toward me. He cleared his throat, an underwater phlegm-filled sound, and blinked twice. Swallowed hard. Then his cracked lips parted, revealing a mouth half full of stained, crooked teeth.

In a scratchy voice he said, "Hello, Joshua."


Excerpted from DIAMONDS for the DEAD by ALAN ORLOFF Copyright © 2010 by Alan Orloff. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2013


    Very interesting!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 1, 2010

    Never Saw the Ending Coming

    How well do any of us know the people we love? Our husbands, our wives, our parents? This is the provocative question that shapes the plot of "Diamonds for the Dead", the first-but hopefully not the last-novel penned by Alan Orloff.

    Josh Handleman returns to his boyhood home to sit shiva for the father he has been estranged from for most of his adult life. Josh brings his failures with him-a troubled marriage and a failing business. When he arrives home, he gets the shock of his life: his frugal dad was a diamond collector worth millions-which now are missing. Plus he was a financial "angel" to many people in the community, including several of Josh's high school friends. To say nothing of providing a home for an old, Russian Jew, who may, or may not, be a member of the family.

    Troubling questions about the circumstances about his father's death-and life-lead Josh on a twisted path to find out the truth. And, in the process, find out important things about himself. A good read, with an ending I never saw coming.

    Reviewed by: Susan Santangelo, author of "Retirement can be Murder" for Suspense Magazine

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Give Diamonds to Mom for Mother's Day!

    This is a great first book for the author. Character development was very good, it is a can't put down mystery. The ending had a nice twist that surprised a bit and left a satisfied feeling.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)