Dead by Midnight (Death on Demand Series #21)

( 23 )

Overview

Solving puzzles comes naturally to Annie Darling, cheerful owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore on the lovely sea island of Broward's Rock. Annie is aided and abetted by her admiring husband, Max, who runs an unusual business that offers help to people in trouble.

A recent death appears to be suicide, but Annie suspects murder. To solve the case, she unravels the mystery of a towel hidden at midnight in a gazebo, the lack of fingerprints on a crystal mug, blood on a ...

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Dead by Midnight (Death on Demand Series #21)

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Overview

Solving puzzles comes naturally to Annie Darling, cheerful owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore on the lovely sea island of Broward's Rock. Annie is aided and abetted by her admiring husband, Max, who runs an unusual business that offers help to people in trouble.

A recent death appears to be suicide, but Annie suspects murder. To solve the case, she unravels the mystery of a towel hidden at midnight in a gazebo, the lack of fingerprints on a crystal mug, blood on a teenager's blue shirt, and the secret of a lovers' tryst. Annie believes she has set the perfect trap for a merciless killer . . . until her cell phone rings and Death whispers in her ear.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Hart's engaging 21st Death on Demand mystery (after 2010's Laughed 'Til He Died), Annie Darling, proprietor of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore in South Carolina's Lowcountry, believes that the official conclusion of suicide of one of her employees, Pat Merridew, doesn't add up. Recently fired from her longtime position as receptionist for the law firm of Jamison, Jamison, & Brewster, Pat was taking odd, late-night excursions, and had planned an expensive cruise to Alaska that her economic situation wouldn't support. With the help of her husband, Max, Annie begins to nose around among lawyer Glen Jamison's family and associates. When Glen is shot dead, the evidence points to his sister, Elaine, but Annie and Max think that Elaine is protecting someone else and that the two deaths are connected. Expert pacing and a tense climax distinguish this intriguing variation on the locked room mystery. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling (Laughed 'Til He Died) puts her puzzle-solving skills to work and almost traps herself.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061914980
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Series: Death on Demand Series , #21
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 232,948
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.56 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Hart

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Terri Tumlin for Readers Favorite Annie Darling, pr

    Reviewed by Terri Tumlin for Readers Favorite

    Annie Darling, proprietor of the Death on Demand bookstore is sure that the death of her new assistant, Pat Merridew, is not a suicide, but Billy Cameron, the local police chief, disagrees. Pat had recently lost her job at a prominent lawyer’s office and the cause of death was an overdose of a drug she had been prescribed. However, when more deaths that are unquestionably murder ensue, Pat’s death looks increasingly like murder as well. But the link is anything but clear. With an entire family of suspects and motives that range from blackmail and teenage angst to sexual attraction and, of course, a great deal of money, Annie is engaged in a chase through the rich and varied world of a southern resort island to unravel the mystery and unmask the killer before she finds herself as the killer’s next victim.

    "Death by Midnight", which is one of a series that centers on the Death on Demand bookstore and the adventures of Annie and her husband, Max, provides an enjoyable read. However, I found the beginning, where the author introduces most of the main characters individually before the reader has gotten into the story, a bit slow. I also found myself somewhat overwhelmed by the emphasis on the colors of just about everything described on the island. Nevertheless, these problems are not major. The novel is gripping and I was thoroughly involved right up to the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Sadly, Ms. Hart's Death on Demand books have become formulaic.

    Sadly, Ms. Hart's Death on Demand books have become formulaic. I was able to figure out the identity of the killer as soon as that person was introduced in the first chapter. After the first 50 or so pages, I skipped to the end to confirm my guess. I prefer to be challenged more by my mysteries.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    Death on Demand!

    Annie Darling owns a very popular mystery bookstore on the Florida island of Broward's Rock. Like most isolated towns, the families of Broward's Rock have been there for generations and everyone knows each other. So, it is no surprise that when the island's oldest and most trusted legal firm hits hard times and lays off its receptionist, Annie is called by her close friend and asked to hire on the recently unemployed Pat Merridew. What does turn out to be a surprise is that the grateful Pat dies of a Percocet overdose just a week later and the police rule it as a suicide. Even more surprising is that while Annie does her own digging into Pat's death (she refuses to accept that it was suicide); she is inadvertently witness to Pat's former employer's murder.

    Glen Jamison's family and law firm had been on Broward's Rock for several generations. A generally respected man, he had the sympathy of the town when his wife passed away and the shock of his family when he remarried a young attorney. Never quite getting along with Glen's children or sister, the new Mrs. Jamison is further villanized when she makes the tough judgment calls to fire Pat Merridew and Kirk Brewster (a young partner in the firm). Her husband's murder only adds to her unpopularity with the town. But who could have done it? Her sister-in-law? Her step-son? Her soon-to-be ex partner in the law firm?

    Carolyn Hart creates a riveting mystery in the traditional genre with Dead by Midnight. Her characters are lovable and multi faceted against a backdrop of American life that is so familiar yet so rare. An expert in her craft, Hart weaves a story so intricate and captivating, you can't put it down until you know "who done it."

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  • Posted May 16, 2011

    Another great Death on Demand story

    Dead by Midnight - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

    'Henny tried to maintain a positive outlook, but she felt both irritated and disappointed. She had helped Pat find a job and now Pat had let Annie down. Henny pressed her lips together. Her words might be sharp when she found Pat. With a decided nod, she turned on the motor and headed for Pat's house instead of home.On the porch, Henny admired some crimson begonias in a glazed blue vase. A light cotton sweater lay on the green swing. Letters and magazines protruded from the mailbox. Before she could ring, frenzied barking erupted beyond the front door. Gertrud sounded frantic. That was unusual. She was a good natured dog.Henny pulled open the screen. She turned the front know and pushed. She wasn't surprised to find the door open. Many islanders only locked up at bedtime. "Pat?" The door swung slowly inward. Henny stepped into the small foyer. A grandfather clock ticked to her left. Gertrude twisted in a circle, her claws clicking on the wooden floor, then bolted to the living room. She skidded to a stop, lifted her sleek head, and howled, the pitiably cry high and mournful.'

    After years of service with the law firm of Jamison, Jamison & Brewster, Pat Merridew had been "replaced" with a much younger "window dressing." This all came about after Glen Jamison married his second wife Cleo, also an attorney. Cleo was much younger than Glen and had a reputation of getting what she wanted no matter what. Her plans were to first get rid of the "fluff" in the office and part of that fluff included Pat as well as Kirt Brewster, taking the name of the company down to Jamison & Jamison. Her second plan was to eliminate Glen's adult offspring, pitching them out on their own to fend for themselves and not rely on dad and his money. And her third plan was to kill the influence that Glen's sister Elaine had over him and his decisions regarding the kids that she had virtually raised after the death of his first wife, their mother.

    After her dismissal, Pat became depressed and when Henny decided to help her by getting her a job with her best friend Annie Darling in her book store Death on Demand, Pat's spirits picked up giving her a reason to go on. But when Henny finds her body after an apparent suicide, she finds it hard to accept. That's when she turns to Annie again for help. She knows that Annie and her husband Max are the two people that can prove Pat's death wasn't a suicide but instead murder. After Annie discovers a picture on Pat's phone, taken at the Jamison's gazebo, she finds that the field of suspects has opened tremendously. But when one of the possible suspects turns up murdered giving Annie and Max yet another murder to solve.

    I have yet to read a Carolyn Hart book that I haven't completely enjoyed. Her style of writing is light, yet full of suspense. And she usually keeps me fooled until the end. With Dead by Midnight, I was at page 265 before I knew who the real killer was and why. Great job again Carolyn Hart.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    Wonderful New Death on Demand Mystery!!

    It is so wonderful to be able to escape to Broward's Rock and the Death on Demand bookstore with Annie and Max and their assortment of friends from famous authors to police detectives to restaurant owners on a new adventure. Dead by Midnight is the twenty-first Death on Demand mystery and it is a wonderful addition to the series.

    As always the writing is so smooth and enjoyable to read. The plot is full of twists and turns and the identity of the murderer was a surprise to me as always in this series. I've loved this entire series beginning from Max and Annie's courtship to their established marriage. And it is wonderful that their marriage is solid and full of love. They are a great partnership, always very supportive of one another. I really enjoy the Death on Demand bookstore setting and I love that Ms. Hart is always dropping mystery writers names as I have found many a new author this way. And the first murder victim is a new employee of Annie's this time out.

    The setting of Broward's Rock which is off the South Carolina coast is a wonderful setting. We have another "new" old island family as the central characters in this mystery. The Jamison family is full of victims and suspects. And the bookstore employee murderee had been an employee of the Jamison's law firm until recently. Annie knows her new employee had no reason to commit suicide and quickly determines it was murder and sets out to solve the case. Another murder victim quickly follows. Everyone looks like a suspect at some point and it takes Annie and Max's detective work to prove who the murderer is. Great story!

    Highly recommend this wonderful new addition to the Death on Demand series by Carolyn Hart. It was just released this week so be sure to get your copy soon!

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    All I Hoped it Would Be

    When Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore on the South Carolina island of Brower's Rock, discovers that her employee's death has been ruled a suicide, she quickly senses that something is amiss. The employee, Pat Merridrew, was recently fired from a law firm and Annie begins to look at possible suspects connected to the firm with the help of her husband, Max. As they investigate, the senior law partner, Glen Jamison, is murdered and it appears that the two deaths are related. The suspect list is long as several family members and associates had personal and business reasons to want Jamison out of the way and the person responsible won't think twice about eliminating Annie and Max as well as they uncover clues to the killer's identity.

    I'm a fan of Carolyn Hart's Death on Demand series and this one was all I hoped it would be. As a reader of mysteries I'm always pleased when one keeps me interested from beginning to end and doesn't make it easy to guess who did it and why. This book has more characters than usual which sometimes is a risk because it can burden the reader with too many too many people to keep track of but Hart does a good job developing them with just enough information to make them relevant to the storyline.

    I have to confess that the character of Laurel Darling, Max's mother, was starting to annoy me with her cat posters as much as she did Annie, but it turned out well. You'll have to read the book to find out what that was all about.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    Another winner in this popular series!

    DEAD by MIDNIGHT, the latest in the DEATH on DEMAND series, has all the trademarks of a Carolyn Hart classic: an intriguing mystery, with enough twists and turns to delight readers everywhere, richly layered characters and of course, Annie and Max Darling. This is a series that should go on forever! Highly recommended.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a refreshing locked room cozy

    In barrier island Broward's Rock, South Carolina, Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore, scoffs at the government's official position that her employee Pat Merridew committed suicide. Pat had lost her job as receptionist at Jamison, Jamison, & Brewster law firm and was planning an expensive Alaskan cruise she could not afford. Finally Pat was reportedly doing late night hour sojourns.

    Annie and her private investigator husband Max investigate with a close look at law partner Glen Jamison, his family and the firm especially his associates. Someone shoots and kills Glen with the evidence proving his sister Elaine committed the homicide. However, Annie and Max think she is innocent as they believe the prime suspect protects someone who is involved in both deaths.

    The latest Death on Demand whodunit (see Laughed 'Til He Died) is a refreshing locked room cozy as the Darlings find this case somewhat personal due to Pat's death. With the usual interwoven references to other mystery authors and their titles, fans will relish the delightful darling Darlings as they investigate two Dead by Midnight.

    Harriet Klausner

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