Death Walked In (Death on Demand Series #18)

Death Walked In (Death on Demand Series #18)

3.8 10
by Carolyn G. Hart
     
 

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Max Darling hasn't been interested in crime since his brush with a seductive young woman put him in danger of losing his freedom. He even refuses to talk to a woman who calls for help and says she is afraid. The caller leaves word she's hidden something in the antebellum house Max and his wife, Annie, are restoring. When Annie finds out, she hurries to the woman's

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Overview

Max Darling hasn't been interested in crime since his brush with a seductive young woman put him in danger of losing his freedom. He even refuses to talk to a woman who calls for help and says she is afraid. The caller leaves word she's hidden something in the antebellum house Max and his wife, Annie, are restoring. When Annie finds out, she hurries to the woman's home, only to discover she's been murdered. Evidence links the dead woman to a fortune in gold coins that has recently gone missing. Was this mysterious woman killed for a fortune in coins?

The dead woman's son is accused but Max believes in his innocence, and Max and Annie plunge wholeheartedly into the investigation. Are the coins hidden in Annie and Max's house? The intruder who shoots at Max seems to think so. And when Annie discovers the secret of their old house, death arrives at their door.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Annie Darling, proprietor of Death on Demand, "the finest mystery bookstore north of Miami," once again proves a resourceful sleuth in Hart's scintillating 18th Death on Demand mystery set in the South Carolina island community of Broward's Rock (after 2006's Dead Days of Summer). When Annie's devoted PI husband, Max, who's busy renovating historic Franklin House, puts off returning a frantic phone call from a prospective client, Annie later discovers the caller, Gwen Jamison, dying of a gunshot wound in Gwen's house. It appears Gwen wanted to tell Max that after finding on her property eight gold coins worth nearly $2 million that were recently stolen from Gwen's employer, island civic leader Geoffrey Grant, she had hidden the coins at Franklin House. When Gwen's dropout son, Robert, is implicated in both the theft and the murder, Max believes Robert's been framed and works to clear his name. This tight, Agatha Christie-style puzzler will keep readers guessing to the end. (Apr.)

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Kirkus Reviews
The theft of some valuable coins has murderous consequences. As mystery bookshop owner Annie Darling and her problem-solving husband Max go about transforming the antebellum Franklin house into their dream residence, they little know it will be the scene of criminal activity. Max is gun-shy after being set up and jailed for murder when he answered a plea for assistance (Dead Days of Summer, 2006, etc.). So a phone call from a woman asking for his help and apologizing for hiding something in the Franklin house goes unanswered until his ever-curious wife drives to Gwen Jamison's home and finds her dying from a gunshot wound. Gwen worked for the Grant family, whose valuable coin collection has recently been stolen. The police first focus on Gwen's troublesome younger son, but suspicion turns to other family members-Geoff Grant, his third wife, two sets of children from former marriages and a sister-in-law-all of whom may have financial problems that would be eased by a fortune in gold coins. Multiple break-ins at the Franklin house, complete with shots fired and a second murder, only make Annie and Max more determined to track down a clever and dangerous killer. One of Max and Annie's more absorbing adventures, even though it telegraphs the killer's identity early on.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061834240
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Series:
Death on Demand Series , #18
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
76,959
File size:
588 KB

Read an Excerpt

Death Walked In
A Death on Demand Mystery

Chapter One

Ben Travis-Grant wished he'd brought his ski jacket. He hated cold weather. Too bad Geoff's birthday was in February. It was more fun to come home to the island in July than in winter. He grinned as he thought of women on the beach in bikinis. However, despite Broward's Rock's chilly breezes, not one of them would miss Geoff's annual week-long birthday bash. The entire family rallied round for cake and ice cream and champagne toasts to Geoff's longevity. Still, February was the pits. A damp chill oozed through a crack in the top of his classic '74 MGB convertible.

The house would be warm and cheerful, and Geoff's parties were always fun. Without exception, they all wished him a long life. When Geoff knocked at the pearly gates, the good times would grind to a halt. Geoff had unveiled his testamentary intentions several years ago. Everything went to Chastain College. The college had already repaid the expected boon with a position on the board of trustees and a distinguished-graduate award. Fortunately Geoff wasn't really old, though almost fifty seemed ancient compared to Ben's exuberant twenty-five. Ben brightened. Geoff had married Rhoda a -couple of years ago. Sex was good for -people. He'd seen a story the other day that even old folks enjoyed sex. He grinned. Why not?

None of them had any right to grouse. Geoff had been generous to one and all, adopting the offspring of his first two wives, giving them his name and helping them through college. He also had a real instinct for what mattered to kids. He'd insisted each kid add his birth dad's name to Grant. It bothered Geoff thatBen hadn't graduated, but Ben was in no hurry. As for the party, Geoff could always be counted on for a thousand bucks at his birthday gathering and a cool five thousand every Christmas.

Ben raised an imaginary glass. "Long live Geoff!"

Slowly his hand fell and his face furrowed. Could he touch Geoff for an extra ten thou this week? He thought of Joey in the hospital in Bangkok. He wanted to help Joey if he could—no money and sick as a dog.

He moved restlessly, almost opened the door to plunge out on the deck of the ferry and pace. He hated being confined, but he also hated the cold wind on the open deck. Earlier, he'd scanned the half-dozen cars waiting to come aboard and hadn't spotted any of the family. He'd hoped to see Kerry, but likely she was already at the house, seated on an ottoman near the fire, watching and listening, dark hair swirling to her shoulders, grave eyes attentive, sweet lips ready to curve into a smile.

Kerry. Kerry. Kerry. Lovely as a dream, elusive as a wisp of cloud, beyond his reach. Of all the women for him to want . . .

It made no sense. He'd always rocketed along having fun, but deep inside he couldn't deny his hunger for Kerry. Yet, even if he somehow captured her heart, Geoff would make good his threat. Geoff had always been protective of Kerry. But who wasn't? She was goodness wrapped in beauty. Geoff was tough about some things. He wanted everyone in the family to set a good example to the world. That's what he'd told Ben on a grim day six years ago.

There was one way to forestall Geoff's revelations to Kerry.

Ben's hands clenched on the steering wheel. If he told the truth, he'd be safe. But he couldn't do that. What else could he do?

Rhoda Grant hurried through the statuary garden. She'd felt choked in the overly warm house. The misty February day was chilly, the temperature in the forties. She welcomed the brisk air, the sense of escape.

She stopped at the far end on the lowest terrace, hidden from view behind a reproduction of a nude Aphrodite kneeling. The white marble statue was a favorite of Geoff's. Her eyes flashed, but she pushed away the clamor of angry thoughts that threatened to envelop her. She had only a moment. Rhoda lifted her cell phone, punched a number. It rang without answer. She left no message, clicked off. If he'd answered, what would she have said? She had to make up her mind.

It was all Geoff's fault. If he hadn't sold the plane, she would have been happy. She loved to fly, going up into blueness, far from the earth, exhilarated and free. Would she ever be free again?

Hyla Harrison worked at a table in her room. She welcomed the warmth from the fireplace. She gave the .40-caliber semiautomatic Glock pistol a final swipe with the cloth. The steel-polymer gun gleamed, dark as midnight. She balanced it in her hand. Without warning, the nightmare vision returned, blotting out the dancing flames in the fireplace, wrapping her in shaking horror:

George called in. "Two-adam-seven." Dispatch responded, "Two-adam-seven, go ahead." "We'll be out of the unit checking a suspicious light in apartment construction at Market and Halliday." "Ten-four, two-adam-seven." George touched the screen, pinpointing their location. They grabbed their nightsticks and, flashlights shining, approached the entrance on opposite sides to avoid being silhouetted. After that, the details were hazy. Shots. George spun around, blood splotching his khaki uniform shirt. She called in. "Two-adam-seven, officer down! Officer down! Market and Halliday." Dispatch: "Confirm Market and Halliday?" "Affirm." As the sound of running steps dwindled in the distance, she knelt beside George. "Jessie . . ." His wife's name ended in a bubble of blood.

A black-clad figure in thick-soled running shoes slipped down the broad shallow steps of the main stairway. No one else stirred in the silent house. The grandfather clock in the main entryway tolled the hour, once, twice, marking the depth of night when sleep is heaviest, consciousness lost in the labyrinth of dreams and imaginings.

Death Walked In
A Death on Demand Mystery
. Copyright © by Carolyn Hart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet 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.

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