Dead by Midnight – Carolyn Hart – 8/10

“Annie had always loved mystery packages with unknown contents.”

When a prominent lawyer from an old-money family is found shot in his study, all eyes turn to the relative who has been acting suspiciously. It falls to Annie, owner of mystery bookshop Death on Demand, to clear her name and track down the real killer, as well as solving an apparently unrelated suicide…

This is very much a cozy crime novel, set on an island in southern USA. i loved this idea of a set of murders in a town where everyone knows each other – finding the culprit seems all the more impossible because of all the built-up trust. Somewhat like M. C. Beaton’s Death of a Perfect Wife.

The culprit is really obvious, but deviously, Hart shifts suspicion and compromising circumstances onto a succession of others and keeps killing off key witnesses. In the end, I was right and it was satisfying, but I didn’t feel that I had worked it out too early.

I enjoyed Hart’s cast as well – craft old dowager Henny who makes the first connection; Annie, who just won’t let go of her mission to solve the crime, in the face of scepticism from the sheriff and unwanted inundations of cat-based artwork from her mother-in-law; Annie’s husband Max, who is a bit lazy and a bit over-privileged but is still pretty smart and clearly worships Annie; Cleo Jackson, who plays the evil stepmother role perfectly.

A very easy read (I raced through this on the trip to and from Henley) but fun and clever. I’ll have to look out for more Death on Demand novels (this is the 21st in the series).

Additional info
I won this as an advance reader copy in a competition at Beth Fish Reads.
Publisher:William Morrow, imprint of HarperCollins, 282 pages (paperback)
Order this from Amazon* (this is the hardback – the paperback isn’t out yet)
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards giveaways.

3 thoughts on “Dead by Midnight – Carolyn Hart – 8/10”

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