"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Carolyn Hart's Death on Demand - the first mystery novel in the famous series

Death on Demand
Author:  Carolyn Hart
Publisher:  A Bantam Crime Line Book, Bantam Books, a division of Random House 
Published: original publication date:  1987
Pages:  213, though the numbering ends at 195 pages.  Includes meet the author and an introduction to Mint Julep Murder.
Genre:  Mystery
Source:  I own this book.

There are 77 authors' names dropped throughout this cozy mystery, some more than once.  See the author's website for complete list.

At Annie Laurence's Death On Demand bookstore on Broward's Rock Island, South Carolina, murder most foul suddenly isn't confined to the well-stocked shelves.  Author Elliot Morgan's abrupt demise  during a weekly gathering of famous mystery writers called the Sunday Night Regulars is proof positive that a bloody sword is sometimes mightier than a brilliant pen.

Who Could Plot a Murder Better Than a Mystery Writer

With Annie in the unenviable position of primary police suspect, the pretty young mystery maven and her wealthy paramour, Max Darling, embark on an investigation into a classic locked-room mystery with high stakes.  For failing to unmask a brutal and ingenious killer could mean prison for Ms. Laurence.  While success could mean her death.

My Thoughts:

I love these Death on Demand mysteries so much that I decided to start them from the very beginning which is where Death on Demand begins.  We are introduced to Annie Laurence who owns a bookstore which sells mysteries and to her "friend" Max Darling.  Their relationship gets much more serious in later books but for now they are deniably involved.

During a Sunday evening meeting of the local mystery authors, a black out occurs and when Annie manages to get the lights back on, Elliot is dead.  The store is locked and everyone is still present when the light returns.  When the police are called in, Annie becomes prime suspect because she had financial motive and could have had opportunity.  Being the proprietor of Death on Demand has put Annie in the sight lines of the local police who fail to see anyone else as possible suspects.  It is up to Annie and Max to clear her name but can they before the chief arrests her?

I hadn't before read this debut in the series and am thrilled to see that the plotting and characterization I know Carolyn Hart for is just as strong in the first of the series as it is in the rest.  I had an inkling of suspicion about the killer but those thoughts were put away time and again as new evidence was introduced and I was happily surprised at the end.  

Next to Agatha Christie, Carolyn Hart is my favourite mystery author.  Her writing is witty, entertaining and suspenseful.  A clever and winning combination.  The Death on Demand series is hard to put down and highly addictive.  I'm so grateful Ms. Hart is prolific!!


Death on Demand series is available at your local bookstore and on Amazon.  Check it out!

Meet the author:

Hart is a native of Oklahoma City, a Phi Beta Kappa journalism graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and a former president of Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Authors Guild, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the International Crime Writers Association, the International Thrillers Association, and the American Crime Writers League. She taught professional writing in the University of Oklahoma School of Journalism from 1982-85. She is the author of 49 mysteries, winner of three Agatha Awards for Best Novel, two Anthonys and two Macavitys. (from the author's website)

1 comment:

  1. I would love to own a bookstore. How wonderful to be surrounded by books and meet readers every day. This sounds like another great read.


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