Carolyn Hart's Death on Demand series has been a favorite cozy series of mine for many years. Annie Darling owns a mystery bookstore (Death on Demand, obviously) and mystery is the main theme throughout the series, both up front with the murders and in the background through the books Annie sells. The novels are full of mystery references which is sure to delight fans of the genre.
In Laughed 'Til He Died, the 20th installment of the series, Hart offers up a mystery that boggles the mind in the best way possible. by the middle of the novel, I was utterly convinced of the killer's identity. I was so off base, but looking back, the clues were right there. I have read all the previous books in the Death on Demand series and feel rather acquainted with Hart's style, so it was a fantastic surprise to find myself so far off base.
The prime suspect in the murder comes to Max, Annie's husband, for help on another matter before the victim was killed. I loved how Annie and Max had a legitimate reason to be as involved in the investigation as they were. The island's famous mystery author, Death on Demand's best customer and Max's mom were all there to lend their specialized viewpoints as well.
Oh, how I wish there was a real Death on Demand close to home. A store full of nothing but mysteries, the coffee in mugs adorned with mystery titles, a big stuffed raven; the image sound like a place I would never want to leave. A scene where Annie was setting up themed displays, mentioning both famous and new to me authors and titles made me want to be Annie. What fun it would be to own Death on Demand (you know, without all the murders.)
Laughed 'Til He Died contains a great mystery surrounded by mysteries and was great fun. Actually, it was one of the very best in the series and if Carolyn Hart can entertain this well after 20 books, I would love to read at least 20 more.