Mint Julep Murder (Death on Demand Series #9)

Mint Julep Murder (Death on Demand Series #9)

4.3 13
by Carolyn G. Hart

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One of America's most beloved mystery writers, Carolyn G. Hart, the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award-winning author, returns to her original mystery
series that features Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand Bookstore, and her husband, Max, with Mint Julep Murder.

Normally, Annie Laurence Darling would be eagerly awaiting her trip to HeadSee more details below


One of America's most beloved mystery writers, Carolyn G. Hart, the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award-winning author, returns to her original mystery
series that features Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand Bookstore, and her husband, Max, with Mint Julep Murder.

Normally, Annie Laurence Darling would be eagerly awaiting her trip to Head Island, where this year's Dixie Book Festival is being held. But this year Annie has agreed to be the author liaison to five authors honored with the much-coveted Dixie Book Festival Medallions, and she fears she is going to have her hands full juggling murderous egos. What Annie doesn't count on is the untimely death of ambitious Mint Julep Press publisher Kenneth Hazlitt. Hazlitt arrives at the Festival peddling a proposal for Song of the South, a trashy roman  clef that details the indiscretions of some famous Southern authors at a writers' conference--writers who more than resemble the Dixie Festival Medallion winners. When Hazlitt drops dead after drinking a hit of bourbon from his private stock, the evidence points to Annie--the fatal glass is imprinted with her fingerprints. As more and more evidence points her way, Annie and Max must act fast to catch a wily killer...before the police throw the book at Annie!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this paean to the cozy, Hart sets her lively amateur sleuth, bookstore owner Annie Darling (last seen in Southern Ghost), on a plot in which real mystery writers mix with fictional ones and most of the plentiful potshots are verbal. At the annual Dixie Book Festival, held on Hilton Head island, Annie has agreed to act as liaison for the five authors being presented with festival Medallions. The diverse honorees are a flame-haired author of Civil War novels; a handsome, smug writer of a bestselling male romance; a plump and unassuming woman who pens domestic murder mysteries; the cool author of a popular cozy series; and a loud, heavy-drinking redneck polemicist. Each one has reason to be distressed when the publisher of Mint Julep Press announces his plans to write a roman clef about Southern writers. When the publisher dies at his own party, after downing some poisoned bourbon, Annie and her charges are all prime suspects. While her husband Max supplements her own reckless sleuthing, Annie must also cope with the determined attempts of her mother-in-law and two writing friends to snag publishers for their efforts. Casting probability to the winds, Hart wraps her light tale in a deliciously inviting setting and offers mystery readers a winsome treat. (Sept.)
Library Journal
While ensconced on Broward's Rock Island, South Carolina, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Annie Darling serves as author liaison for the Dixie Book Festival on Hilton Head. Problems arise when a self-serving, small-time publisher promises to write a scandalous roman clef featuring Annie's five charges-all quite famous. After the would-be writer dies of poisoning, all evidence points to Annie. When the beautiful, well-married, sexy, and witty Annie begins her quest for the truth, how can she lose? Ebullient tone, fascinating supporting characters, and attention to food and other details recommend this for most collections.
Emily Melton
Picture Miss Marple recast as an attractive blond bookstore owner who lives in South Carolina and solves mysteries in her spare time--and you have Annie Laurance Darling, heroine of Hart's latest Agatha Christiestyle mystery. Annie has her hands full serving as tour guide and baby-sitter for five authors at the Dixie Book Festival. Then publisher Kenneth Hazlitt threatens to write an expose that will reveal some very private facts about each of Annie's authors, and suddenly the pleasant festival becomes a hotbed of gossip and intrigue. But real disaster strikes when Hazlitt is poisoned and Annie is accused of killing him. Alternately indignant that anyone would see her as a killer and terrified that she'll take the rap, Annie, like the intrepid Miss Marple, uses her considerable deductive skills, figures out whodunit, and calls the suspects together in the best Christie style to identify the real killer. Hart combines genteel ambience, southern charm, a likable heroine, and some wonderfully nasty characters into a pleasantly entertaining mystery--just right for a warm summer day.
From the Publisher
"Hart wraps her light tale in a deliciously inviting setting and offers mystery readers a winsome treat."
Publishers Weekly

"Hart offers fans another inventive and lively Annie Laurence Darling tale...Hart paints her Southern literary scene with a keen satirical brush and an impish display of colorful comedy."
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Death on Demand Series , #9
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

The flurry of faxes began a week before the Dixie Book Festival. Sherry Felton's first fax was circumspect. Sherry was well aware of her bestselling author's temperament. She had a queasy feeling that she was damned if she did and damned if she didn't, but a long-distance outburst was infinitely to be preferred over a face-to-face explosion.

FAX 1 -
from: Sherry Felton
to: Leah Vixen Kirby

Dear Leah,
Biddy Maxwell tells me a Georgia publisher named Kenneth Hazlitt has approached her with an idea for a novel, a steamy sex-and-tell piece, all about some famous Southern writers and their indiscretions at a conference. He hinted to Biddy that it's a roman  clef. She's shopping the idea around.

Your latest sales figures are super. The paperback of Love's Lost Splendour is shipping like hotcakes.

See you at Hilton Head.


It came as no surprise to Sherry when her fax machine signaled incoming material.

FAX 2 -
from: Leah Kirby
to: Sherry Felton

Dear Sherry,

Kenneth Hazlitt is a mediocre publisher and he couldn't write a decent novel if somebody handed him a mouse with an IQ of 200-plus. He's a buffoon who loves Dracula, Frankenstein, and Little Orphan Annie with the Statler Brothers bellowing in the background. But who gives a damn about quality? How much sex and who are the main characters?

If I could get a spot on Oprah, Love's Lost Splendour would sell five times what it's doing now. I must talk to you about publicity. And whose idea was it to schedule my Festival signing at four o'clock? They've got to be kidding. I want nine a.m. And I mean it.

As ever,

Sherry read as the fax paper oozed out. Damn. It was too late to change autographing times. The conference program was already printed. Leah knew that, of course. But who expected the world's most famous author of Civil War novels to give a damn about minor facts like printed programs? Sherry debated calling the Festival programmer. Maybe they could put up a sign announcing a time change at the information booth. . . . Oh, hell, what a bother. She didn't reach for the phone. Instead, her eyes glinting with malice, she waited thirty minutes, then dispatched a reply. As always, she used her author's full name. One had to take pleasure where one found it.

FAX 3 -
from: Sherry Felton
to: Leah Vixen Kirby

Dear Leah,

The programmer regrets being unable to change your autographing time. The committee wants the most famous author available at four p.m. The local TV promises a crew, and they feed to CBS.

Lots of sex, according to Biddy. And the cast of characters includes the most famous author of Civil War novels; the author of the latest male romance novel Ó la Bridges and Love Story; the author of Southern sojourns of the soul; the author of good-old-boy diatribes against blacks, Jews, feminists, and women in general; and the world's bestselling mystery writer.

Oh, and congratulations upon your receiving a Medallion at the Festival. I'll be sure and attend the ceremony.


FAX 4 -
from: Leah Kirby
to: Alan Blake
Missy Sinclair
Jimmy Jay Crabtree
Emma Clyde

Dear Fellow Medallion Honorees,

FYI, Kenneth Hazlitt is shopping a proposal using thinly disguised (if disguised at all) characters patterned after all of us. Remember Wynnewood?

The sorry bastard.

Leah Kirby

FAX 5 -
from: Emma Clyde
to: Leah Kirby
Alan Blake
Melissa Sinclair
Jimmy Jay Crabtree

Dear Fellow Honorees,

I smell a Medallion-sized rat.

Best regards,

FAX 6 -
from: Errol Beatty, publicist
to: Leah Kirby
Emma Clyde

Dear Ms. Kirby and Ms. Clyde,

Mr. Crabtree is presently on a book tour. I will bring your faxes to his attention when I speak to him this evening.

Best wishes,
Errol Beatty

FAX 7 -
from: Alan Blake
to: Leah Kirby
Emma Clyde

Dear Leah and Emma:

Let's talk when we arrive at the Festival. They're putting me up at the


FAX 8 -
from: Melissa Sinclair
to:Leah Kirby
Emma Clyde


I'll call Kenneth.


FAX 9 -
from: Melissa Sinclair
to: Leah Kirby
Emma Clyde

Dear Leah, Emma,

The dolt's excited out of his mind. He says Barker, Dunwoody & Kell is interested. This is all on the basis of a three-page proposal. I can't believe this!

By the way, who picked us as Medallion winners? Does anybody know? Kenneth swears the Medallions have NO connection with his book. And the Republican National Committee is proposing Clinton for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am not a happy camper. Should we cancel?


On a separate sheet faxed solely to Leah Kirby, Missy appended the following:

P.S. The writer of Civil War novels is a redhead who always wears green--and there's a broad hint of sexual dalliance NOT with her spouse.

In her Belle Meade mansion in Nashville, Leah Kirby savagely crumpled the fax. She was a strikingly beautiful woman, tall and slender with hair as fiery as molten lava. Today's silk suit was a soft jade.

Footsteps sounded in the hallway.

Leah jammed the fax into her pocket as her husband, Carl, entered the room.

Carl Kirby was slender, sixty, with thinning gray hair. His face was pale and drawn, but when he saw Leah, his mouth curved into a cheerful smile.  "It looks good on the interview with People. They'll focus on you as the greatest living writer of tender love stories.'' His voice was full of pride. For Leah. Of Leah. "The People crew wants to follow us around for a week or two. Maybe right after the Festival. They want to get the flavor of our true-life love story.''

He stepped close, held out his arms.

Leah moved into his embrace, pressed against him.

The fax crackled in her pocket.

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