I’ve been a forever fan of Carolyn Hart. At least since 1987, when the first book in her Death on Demand series was published; her latest is #22. She’s won every award in the mystery field and what’s most amazing is that her work remains fresh. When I crack open one of Carolyn Hart’s books – and I believe I’ve read all of them – I know I’m in for a great story, memorable and familiar characters, and professional writing.
In Death Comes Silently, Annie Darling is hosting a book signing at her Broward’s Rock (South Carolina) mystery bookstore, Death on Demand, when she gets a series of annoying phone calls from the woman who has taken her usual shift at a charity thrift store. Gretchen Burkholt is a drama queen. Her phone messages, which Annie ignores, indicate she has discovered something about the recent accidental death of a local man, and that she’s fearful of somebody, although she doesn’t mention who that person is.
Carolyn Hart fans can figure out what happens next: Gretchen winds up dead, the person she’s fearful of – the charity’s handyman, Jeremiah Young – is her suspected killer, and Annie and her husband Max jump into the investigation to help the police chief solve the crime. But the police chief is soon out of the picture, the investigation taken over by the inept mayor of Broward’s Rock, who quickly leaps to his own conclusions and doesn’t let facts interfere with how he is certain things happened.
There are lots of reasons Carolyn Hart’s books are all national bestsellers. They’re just great … books readers are sad to see end, and which can be read and re-read. Annie Darling is a great character, one who has aged a lot less than her fans, and she remains a one-of-a-kind heroine in cozy fiction. Max is OK, too, and the secondary characters are fun and familiar.