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Laughed 'Til He Died Mass Market Paperback – Mar 29 2011
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From the Back Cover
Intrigue and foul play are no strangers to the idyllic South Carolina sea island of Broward's Rock. Mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling and her husband, Max, who specialize in solving problems, plunge into a startling web of danger and deceit when a trio of deaths is linked to the island's youth recreation center.
With the evidence mounting against her, the center's director seeks out Max to clear her name. When it comes to intrigue, where Max goes, Annie isn't far behind. To save an innocent woman, the pair scrambles to unravel three complex interlinked puzzles: the mystery of three guns, the pulled-out pant pockets of one victim, and the disappearance of a teenager whose stepfather always had the last laugh . . . until he died.
About the Author
An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the author of twenty previous Death on Demand novels. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. She is also the creator of the Henrie O series, featuring a retired reporter, and the Bailey Ruth series, starring an impetuous, redheaded ghost. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
Jean Hughes, director of Haven, a youth recreation center, is not having her contract renewed due to the lobbying of her former lover affluent and influential businessman Booth Wagner. Jean asks Max to help her keep her job because her sister is dying and they want to stay here. However, Booth succeeds in forcing Jean to give up her position. On the night she is to announce her resignation, someone kills Booth. The evidence mounts that Jean killed her ex lover, but both Darlings think otherwise as they believe Jean would never risk anything at that this time due to her beloved sibling's failing health as separation is unacceptable. Max and Annie learn that Booth made a myriad of enemies that include his family and ex wife. However, pressure on Max mounts when Annie and Booth's heir end up in the crosshairs of a killer.
The Darling Death on demand mysteries are always a special treat because the investigation seems genuine with a plenty of suspects and the loving relationship between Max and Annie enriches the whodunit story lines. Carolyn Hart's latest cozy is filled with strong characterizations including a killer in plain sight, but readers will find it almost impossible to determine who that person is even with clues also in plain sight. Carolyn Hart provides another Darling regional mystery.
The fascinating side issue is the acute accuracy of mystery titles with which Ms. Hart peppers each novel to support the story line. Her choices for the five mystery paintings, the mugs from which Anne and her friends drink their coffee, and the displays Annie creates in the store are all tiny clues to the murderer at hand.
LAUGHED 'TIL HE DIED has a retired tycoon who never forgets and extracts his revenge from anyone who stands in the way of his desires as the victim. As normal with Ms. Hart there are several candidates for the murderer, but who hates the man enough to kill him? Was it the woman he wanted to make his mistress, his wife, his daughter, his ex-wife, his step-son, the list goes on and on with a surprising twist to the conclusion.
LAUGHED 'TIL HE DIED is a great summer read even if you don't live on an island.
Nash Black, author of SINS OF THE FATHERS.
This will always be one of my favorite mystery series. The investigation in the book is very believable. The stories remind me of Agatha Christie and I can give no greater compliment.