Sugarplum Dead
A Death on Demand Mystery, #12
By Carolyn Hart
William Morrow & Co - Nov. 2000 - ISBN: 0380977729
Avon - Oct. 2001 - ISBN: 038080719X
Cozy Mystery / Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by: Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.Com

Sugarplum Dead is twelfth in the Death On Demand series - a series starring Annie and Max Darling. Max is a P.I. Annie runs a bookstore. Max's mother and one of Annie's customers, Henny, sometimes help them.

Annie and Max are ready for Christmas. Annie has a host of holiday mysteries and a new watercolor contest for her customers, and Max has checked off the last of Annie's gifts on his list. Max's mother, Laurel has her own yuletide fun going on, and although Annie has always considered her flighty, she is certainly not spaced out, yet that is the impression the island is gets when Laurel is seen talking to a steering wheel shaped gravestone in the cemetery. When a long lost relative of Annie's arrives she hears the name of Dr. Swanson again. She is prompted by others to check him out. The simple investigation leads to trouble for the family of a famous old star by the name of Marguerite Dumaney Ladson. Max and Annie agree to go to Marguerite's birthday bash. While there, they meet Marguerite's bitter adult stepchildren and discover that both Laurel and Marguerite have fallen for the new age nonsense of Swanson. Before long, strange behavior leads to murder. The Ladson and Darlings find themselves yuletide high in troubles and there will be nothing Merry about Christmas until everything is resolved.

Hart has a way of starting her mystery, a way of leading the reader to something more diabolical, and a way of bring the story back to the beginning. The mystery starts with a prologue, introducing everyone to the reader. This is very smart, especially if there are many characters. Another smart move is the way Hart starts off with a simple mystery and leads the readers into something more deceptive and exciting. In this one, it's the mystery of who Dr. Emery Swanson and his Evermore Foundation is. When the mystery has been solved, usually at the very end, it's clear and concise. In this chapter of the award-winning series, readers can, again, expect to be entertained with plenty of twists and turns by some of mystery genre's best characters.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Sugarplum Dead #12
April Fool Dead #13
Engaged to Die #14
Murder Walks the Plank #15
Death of the Party #16
Dead Days of Summer #17
Death Walked In #18 [review 1] [review 2]
Dare to Die #19
Laughed ’til He Died #20
Dead by Midnight #21
Death Comes Silently #22
Dead, White and Blue #23
Death at the Door #24


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