Author: Carolyn Hart
Published: 2012, this edition; first published 2011
Publisher: Avon Books, an Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Genre: mystery/cozy mystery
Source: I purchased this book.
Read more about Dead By Midnight on the publisher's site: http://www.harpercollins.ca/book/index.aspx?isbn=9780061914980
From the back cover:
Solving puzzles comes naturally to Annie Darling, cheerful owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore on the lovely seas island of Broward's Rock. Annie is aided and abetted by her admiring husband, Max, who runs an unusual business that offers help to people in trouble.
A recent death appears to be suicide, but Annie suspects murder. To solve the case, she unravels the mystery of a towel hidden at midnight in a gazebo, the lack of fingerprints on a crystal mug, blood on a teenager's blue shirt, and the secret of a lovers' tryst.
Annie believes she has set the perfect trap for a merciless killer...until her cell phone rings and Death whispers in her ear.
Dead By Midnight is a Death on Demand Mystery, continuing with Annie and Max Darling, a mystery bookstore owner and unofficial investigator respectively. I simply love these two. They live the ideal life - on an island in the southern states, surrounded by ocean, beaches, gorgeous tropical plants, an active society life and...always....a penchant for getting mixed up in murder!
In Dead By Midnight, Annie hires Pat who was recently let go from a local law firm. Economically, for some, things have slowed down and Cleo has manipulated her new husband and partner in the firm, Glen, yet again. In Cleo's mind, the firm needs a new image, and a new face, not Pat's, to greet clients. Another partner, Kirk, has been given notice as well. The firm is definitely not making friends in the community.
When Pat fails to show up for work and is found dead in her home, Annie is certain it is not suicide, despite a lack of enemies, fingerprints, motives. Pat was planning a vacation, had a new job, had said to Annie, when discussing a novel, that suicide is not the answer...one simply must work their way through. Definitely not a suicide, in Annie's mind.
When Glen is found shot to death in his home, Annie suspects Pat was on to something and was killed to keep her quiet. Annie delves deeper into the lives of the family, the circumstances of Glenn's killing, and the questionable behaviour of her friend Elaine, an aunt to Glen's children. Enlisting her husband's investigative skills, Annie devises a trap for the killer but the killer is onto her and makes a trap for Annie!
Plotted with the mind of a master storyteller, Dead By Midnight involves the reader to the very last page, the last sentence, the very last word. I couldn't put it down! Each twist in the plot revealed a new motive, another suspect, until you begin to wonder if your original suspect is indeed the culprit. A good mystery involves the reader; without asking you to become a sleuth, you are. In some cases I was one step ahead of Annie, but a new scenario would arise that would throw me as well as her off track. Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful!