From Publishers Weekly
Hart supplies superior cozy fare in her 14th mystery (after 2002's April Fool Dead) to feature amateur sleuth Annie Darling and her husband, Max. Everyone in the Low Country island of Broward's Rock, S.C., has been looking forward to the gala opening of a new art collection at the Neville Gallery, owned by heiress Virginia Neville, who intends to use the evening not only to dispel the foggy gloom of January on the island but also to announce her engagement to much younger artist Jake O'Neill. However, the party quickly ends when Jake turns up murdered. Max, deputized immediately to help, finds himself at cross-purposes with Annie, owner of the Death on Demand bookstore, who seeks to vindicate her friend who's the prime suspect. A fast-paced plot and a skillfully integrated sub-plot will keep the reader involved and guessing until the very end. Hart expertly handles numerous characters, notably Max's quirky, but lovable mother and Henny, Death on Demand's best customer and mystery expert, who plays a clever mind game with Annie. The interplay between Annie and Max enhances the plot, where in lesser hands it would become the focus. Those who appreciate crime fiction in the Agatha Christie Mousetrap mold will also go for this superb whodunit.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hart's fourteenth Death on Demand mystery is richly evocative of January on the foggy, chilly, damp island of Broward's Rock, South Carolina. Invited to a combined art opening and engagement party, mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling and her husband, Max, are present when the groom-to-be is found with his head bashed in. Circumstantial evidence points to one of Annie's young friends as the most promising suspect. After Max is deputized to help solve the case but Annie is not, Annie works on her own to exonerate her friend, on whom the police and Max concentrate to the exclusion of several other possible suspects. All the while, Annie and Max's easy, loving relationship continues, and Annie's somewhat spacey mother-in-law offers her encouragement through quotations on friendship. Mystery buffs will enjoy identifying the paintings of mystery scenes Hart describes at the beginning of the book and answering the trivia questions that Annie's longtime nemesis, Henny, uses to try to stump her. An enjoyable addition to a long-running series. Sue O'BrienCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved