Death Walked In (Death on Demand Series #18)

Death Walked In (Death on Demand Series #18)

by Carolyn G. Hart

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Annie Darling discovers the secret of the Franklin house, but Death Walked In . . .

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 her shot. Annie hears her final whisper as she holds the dying woman's hand.

Evidence links the dead woman to a nearby home, where a fortune in gold coins has gone missing. The gold coins, rare Double Eagles, were stolen from a house filled with visiting family members, twentysomethings hungry for money and several with secrets they must keep. Is one of them willing to kill for a fortune in coins? Or is it the dead woman's high school dropout son? Max is there when the police arrest the son, but the boy's shock upon learning of his mother's death convinces Max of his innocence. Max and Annie plunge wholeheartedly into the investigation.

But are the coins hidden in Annie and Max's Franklin house? The intruder who shoots at Max seems to think so. And who walks in when Annie discovers the secret of that house?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060724146
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/31/2009
Series: Death on Demand Series , #18
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.60(d)

About 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.

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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Death Walked In 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Death Walked In Carolyn Hart Morrow, April 2008, $23.95, 304 pp. ISBN: 9780060724054 February in Broward¿s Rock, a South Carolina sea island is supposed to be quiet and relatively crime free now that the tourists have gone home. However business mogul Geoffrey Grant had much of his coin collection stolen and the appraised value was over half a million dollars. Max Darling, who almost got convicted for murder by a damsel in distress who elaborately framed him, got a call from a woman who needs help at his office Confidential Commissions. He refuses to take the call and comes to regret it when wife Anne goes to see the caller Gwen Jamison. Max¿s assistant called Anne and told her that Gwen put something in the Franklin House which Max and Anne are rebuilding and where Gwen was once the housekeeper. When Anne goes to Gwen¿s home she finds her dead body on the floor. A woman calls Anne who goes to the dock at night to meet her the woman tells her she knows who stole the coins because she saw the person bury the cache at her graveyard. Two more deaths follow over the next few days causing Max and Anne to investigate, not aware the killer is watching them. --- DEATH WALKED IN is an exciting investigative tale with a husband and wife team as the main protagonists. They are the reason the Death On Demand series is popular as their team-up smoothly blends amateur sleuth and professional detective elements and they are bold enough to follow the clues wherever they may lead. The romance has not gone out of their marriage and is interwoven into the storyline. Carolyn Hart has written a charming and well constructed mystery that her fans will appreciate. --- Harriet Klausner
Kathy89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Max and Annie are renovating there new home, a historical house, and they receive a cryptic message for the former housekeeper who turns up dead. This leads to stolen coins be buried somewhere on the property. Charming characters and nice reference to great mystery novels by Annie the Death on Demand Bookstore Owner but a very easy to figure out who dunnit.
julyso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Annie and Max Darling live in Broward's Rock, a South Carolina Low Country Island, where Annie owns a bookstore, Death on Demand and Max runs his own business, Confidential Commissions. They are busy renovating the Franklin house which becomes an integral part of the mystery. Max receives a phone call from Gwen Jamison at work, but refuses to speak to her. His secretary calls Annie who rushes to Gwen's home to find that she has been murdered. Police suspect Gwen's son, but Max and Annie don't beleive this and are determined to find out what really happened. Some stolen coins are at the bottom of all this and are supposedly hidden in the Franklin house. This is my second book by Carolyn Hart. The first one I read was Ghost at Work, which I enjoyed enormously. I didn't enjoy Death Walked In nearly as much. I found it really slow and hard to finish. I enjoyed Annie and Max, I also enjoyed the setting of the small, close-knit community, but I needed a little more of something...not sure what!
springfield40 More than 1 year ago
Very good story. All of the Death on Demand books are fun with not only a mystery but the history of mysteries. Love this series.
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RivkahOH More than 1 year ago
I look forward to each new Death on Demand book, for light, enjoyable reading with amusing characters and interesting plots. This latest entry was a disappointment. Although Annie and Max are present, most of the familiar, offbeat characters in this series are absent or make only brief appearances. I am always annoyed by people who claim that when reading mysteries they figured out "whodunnit" by Chapter 3, but in this case, it came true for me. At least, I became highly suspicious of one character's actions and was annoyed that Annie and Max did not come close to sharing my suspicions. I hope the next Death on Demand book is better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this classic mystery, with a South Carolina sea island backdrop, drama centers on the high-risk theft of precious gold coins, the tragedy of murder, and the price that evil must pay. DEATH WALKED IN delivers all the twists, turns, and thrills that Carolyn Hart fans look forward to. Annie and Max are restoring an antebellum mansion. She is feminine . . . and strong. He is sophisticated . . . and compassionate. Annie says, 'I wish our beautiful house wasn't part of a crime.' Max comforts her, 'Every old house has had its good days and its bad days. We're going to have good days. But we can't ignore trouble when we're right in the middle of it.' Even supporting characters leap off the page. I liked the high school principal who 'knew his students, the ones who failed as well as those who succeeded, and he never stopped trying to reach the ones who needed help.' When 'Death Walked In' at the end of the mystery, the encounter was unforgettable. This is the 18th book in the award-winning Death on Demand 'bookstore' series--a treat for readers who appreciate fine literary writing that makes your heart race with suspense. Fun to read and wonderful as a gift.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All of the Death on Demand books, as well as Carolyn Hart's Henry O mysteries, are favorites of mine. Death Walked In is no exception. In addition to appreciating the plot lines and the fun characters in the Annie and Max 'Death on Demand' books, I much enjoy the author's descriptions of island living and the lush vegetation on Broward's Rock. I did miss characters Ingrid, Henny, Emma, and Laurel, who were all out of town for this book, but it was still great fun to read.