Review

Dead by Midnight: A Death on Demand Mystery

by Carolyn Hart

When Saturday morning rolls around, Annie Darling, owner of the
Death on Demand mystery bookstore, has her hands full. There's a
meeting of the Savannah Captivating Crimes Book Club and an author
luncheon at the library, so she needs all hands on deck.
Unfortunately, Annie is in a pickle when her newest bookstore
employee, Pat Merridew, fails to show up for work. What could
Pat be thinking?
Annie wonders. She knew how important
Saturday's events were to the bookstore. Luckily or unluckily ---
depending on how you want to look at it --- Annie's take-charge
mother-in-law, Laurel, steps in and saves the day. In spite of her
aggravation at Pat, Annie is relieved that everything goes off
without a hitch.

Annie can't stay mad for long, though. How can she, when she has
just found out that Pat is dead? The police say it's suicide, but
Annie can't understand how someone who saw suicide as the coward's
way out could kill herself. It doesn't make any sense. Pat had
recently been fired from her position as a legal secretary with
Jamison, Jamison & Brewster, where she had worked for more than
20 years, but surely that wasn't enough to push her to take her own
life. By all accounts, Pat seemed to have moved on and picked up
the pieces of her professional life when she had taken the job at
the bookstore.

The last time Annie saw her, Pat appeared to be in good spirits
and eager to please. According to her friends, she had also been
planning the cruise of a lifetime to Alaska. As more oddities
surrounding Pat's death emerge, Annie is convinced that Pat didn't
take her own life, but that someone else did and made it look like
a suicide. But who?

Annie begins digging, and before long, several secrets regarding
the citizens of the small South Carolina sea island come to light.
It turns out that Glen Jamison, the first Jamison in Jamison,
Jamison & Brewster, didn't really want to fire Pat, but did so
at the urging of his flashy new wife, Cleo, who is a real piece of
work. So far she has turned the law practice upside down with new
visions for its future, alienated Glen's kids from a previous
marriage, and angered just about everyone in town. Cleo is not the
type to let that bother her, though.

Elaine Jamison, Glen's sister, appears to be a paragon of virtue
at first glance. She came home to take care of Glen and his
children after the death of his first wife, teaches Sunday school,
volunteers at church and does charity work. Despite all of that,
she has her secrets, too. Did Pat know something about the Jamison
family that got her killed? Only time will tell, as Annie and her
charming husband, Max, combine forces to discover who took Pat's
life.

DEAD BY MIDNIGHT is the 21st installment in the Death on
Demand
series, and it should be easy for readers to see why
these books have been so popular for so long. Memorable characters
with a sense of humor, a mystery that begs to be solved, and a
small-town setting that makes readers wish it were real rather than
fictional, are just some of the captivating elements of Carolyn
Hart's novels. Mystery enthusiasts should definitely pick up a copy
for their keeper collections. They may not be "dead by midnight,"
but they'll certainly be turning the pages well after the clock
strikes 12.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on April 25, 2011

Dead by Midnight: A Death on Demand Mystery
by Carolyn Hart

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0061914975
  • ISBN-13: 9780061914973