Carolyn Hart Classics
Seventh Street Books
Nov 2012/ ISBN 978-1-61614-706-8
by Laura Hinds
I just love Carolyn Hart’s mystery series. Her characters
are realistic, ranging from down-to-earth to bigger- than- life.
Hart’s “Death on Demand” series revolves around
a mystery bookstore, and “Baily Ruth” books are about
a murder and mystery-solving ghost. The “Henrie O” series
features a crime-busting, retired newswoman. Well known to most
serious mystery book fans, the three series are all favorites of
It was when Seventh Street Books, the publisher of Skulduggery
offered a review copy to MyShelf.com that I became aware of a separate
body of Hart’s work; a series of stand-alone books, representing
her earlier work and dating back as far as the 1970’s.
Skulduggery, set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, is
a fascinating look into the complexity of the community. The mystery
revolves around the discovery and black-market for the bones of
the Peking Man, one of mankind’s earliest ancestors. The skull
and bones have surfaced in Chinatown, and have provoked greed to
some in the community, while others hope to serve their brethren
with the sale of the bones.
I wasn’t at all sure that I would like this book, as it was
so different from Hart’s more recent work. Yet, being a thin
volume, it wouldn’t take too much time to read and review
if I didn’t like it. Was I ever surprised to find that I loved
it, and really wanted it to go on and on, or at least discover it
evolved into another series that had eluded me. Fans of Hart, and
mystery lovers in general should enjoy “Skulduggery.”
It is a fast read, and is also exciting and brought alive by the
author’s use of well-worded descriptions that set the scene
for an interesting mystery and a population of true-to-life characters.
If I had to name one thing I learned from this book, it is that
one should never doubt that Carolyn Hart is one of the best mystery
authors of our time. I don’t think she could write a bad book
if she tried.