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The fifth in a series featuring bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Annie Laurence Darling ( Death on Demand ), this tale is long on literary allusions but short on momentum. Invited to teach a class on mystery novels, offered for some strange reason in the journalism, rather than the English department of a local college, Annie finds that university politics become grist for the school's paper. Student editor Brad Kelly's expose of a professor's embezzlement, and of the journalism department's apparent cover-up, lead to that instructor's suicide. Department chair R. T. Burke tracks the source for Kelly's story, but before he can disclose it, Burke is murdered and the newspaper office bombed, killing a secretary. Annie and her P.I. husband, Max, who had been hired to investigate the suicide, tolerate the cheerfully irritating help of Laurel, Max's mother; Miss Dora, a college trustee; and Henny, Annie's best customer, described by Annie as "a free spirit, an old bat, and a mystery nut." Several additional characters are also mystery nuts who frequently cite plots, characters and authors. This ploy does not compensate for Hart's thin characterizations or her penchant for lists and chronologies that undercut the suspense.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Hart has a light touch with her characters, a fresh heroine in Annie, and a delightfully different setting!"
-- Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
A class on mysteries being taught in a journalism dept.? This absurdity strained my credibility past the point of being able to enjoy anything about the book.Published on Nov. 7 2002
I enjoyed the actual mystery of the book (finding out who the Deep Throat was) but the numerous allusions to other mysteries really made me stumble. Read morePublished on June 15 2000
Max and Laurie Darling are delightful and Henny, Miss Dora, and Laurel are equally annoying and amusing. Read morePublished on May 9 2000 by Sue