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Dead by Midnight
A Death on Demand Series #21
Carolyn Hart

William Morrow/Harper Collins
March 29, 2011/ ISBN 978-0-06-191497-3
Mystery/ Cozy

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

The latest addition to Carolyn Hart’s wildly successful Death on Demand series finds Annie Darling, who owns the Death on Demand bookstore, in disbelief that her recently hired employee, Pat Merridew, has committed suicide. It just doesn’t add up with what Annie knows about Pat, but the official ruling is that Pat killed herself and that’s that. Or is it? Annie believes she can prove otherwise, but when a big wig lawyer in their hometown of Broward’s Rock, South Carolina is murdered, there seems little chance of a real investigation into what may have happened to Pat Merridew.

Despite Annie’s conviction that the two deaths are somehow related, the police chief refuses to listen, and predictably, Annie and her husband Max investigate on their own and Annie launches a trap to bring the killer down. Annie and Max investigating is the only thing predictable about this story.

Carolyn Hart is a marvelous writer, creating characters and places that take on a life of their own. If you’ve followed this series throughout the previous 20 books, you’ll feel like you are returning to a favorite vacation spot to see just what the locals are up to now. If you’ve never read a book in this series before, once you read Dead by Midnight, you’ll be clamoring to go back and read all the others.

One of my favorite things about these mysteries is how the author liberally sprinkles in mentions of other books and mystery authors. You see, Annie Darling’s bookstore is a mystery bookstore stocking real-life books! I always keep a notepad and pen handy to jot down names of other titles I find hidden in the pages of the Death on Demand series.

While highly acclaimed and already wildly popular amongst mystery buffs, I recommend this book, and the whole series, to those just beginning to explore the genre. The novels are appropriate for teens and older, and women and men will both enjoy them. Annie and Max Darling have a perfect marital match, and their investigative abilities are well suited to the plots that Carolyn Hart dreams up for them. All in all, a five star book in a five star series.

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

Reviewed 2011
© 2011