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Laughed 'Til He Died: A Death on Demand Mystery (Death on Demand Mysteries) Hardcover – April 6, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Death on Demand Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061453099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061453090
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Anthony-winner Hart's lively 20th Death on Demand mystery (after 2009's Dare to Die), more than one death in Broward's Rock, S.C., engages Annie Darling and her husband, Max. First, Click Silvester, a black teenager who hung out at the Haven, a teen activity center, apparently falls to his death from a wooden viewing platform in the woods. Later, someone shoots obnoxious Haven board member Booth Wagner on stage during an outdoor evening benefit for the center. Many had motives for killing Booth, including his stepson, Tim Talbot, who feared and hated him; his wife, Neva, who's curiously unmoved by his death; his former mistress, Jean Hughes, who was terrified of being fired as the Haven's director and becomes police chief Billy Cameron's prime suspect. A group of local ladies, led by mystery writer Emma Clyde, assist Annie and Max in the hunt for the real killer. Well-developed characters and a complex, fast-moving plot make for a satisfying read. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Annie and Max Darling are back for another adventure in Broward’s Rock, South Carolina. Max, owner of Confidential Commissions, a business specializing in solving delicate problems, and wife Annie, owner of the Death on Demand Bookstore, often work together on cases. This time there have been several deaths apparently connected to the island’s recreation center for young people. As the investigation continues, Annie and Max are convinced that the owner of the youth center is not the killer, even though she was an opponent of Booth Wagner, one of the center’s board members, who was among the victims, along with two teenagers. Hart excels at showing her sleuths at work—drawing up lists of clues, for example—and she keeps readers involved in the ongoing search for justice. This episode is more serious than most of the Darlings’ adventures, but the real appeal of the series remains the opportunity to visit the usually idyllic island and to do some virtual browsing at the Death on Demand Bookstore. Mystery aficionados always walk away from these stories with a new list of authors to try, based on Annie’s recommendations. --Judy Coon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Good plot and interesting, fun characters.
Patricia Foust
Actually, it was one of the very best in the series and if Carolyn Hart can entertain this well after 20 books, I would love to read at least 20 more.
Jennifer Sicurella
I would still recommend it for a good "beach read".
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Sicurella VINE VOICE on April 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Carolyn Hart's Death on Demand series has been a favorite cozy series of mine for many years. Annie Darling owns a mystery bookstore (Death on Demand, obviously) and mystery is the main theme throughout the series, both up front with the murders and in the background through the books Annie sells. The novels are full of mystery references which is sure to delight fans of the genre.

In Laughed 'Til He Died, the 20th installment of the series, Hart offers up a mystery that boggles the mind in the best way possible. by the middle of the novel, I was utterly convinced of the killer's identity. I was so off base, but looking back, the clues were right there. I have read all the previous books in the Death on Demand series and feel rather acquainted with Hart's style, so it was a fantastic surprise to find myself so far off base.

The prime suspect in the murder comes to Max, Annie's husband, for help on another matter before the victim was killed. I loved how Annie and Max had a legitimate reason to be as involved in the investigation as they were. The island's famous mystery author, Death on Demand's best customer and Max's mom were all there to lend their specialized viewpoints as well.

Oh, how I wish there was a real Death on Demand close to home. A store full of nothing but mysteries, the coffee in mugs adorned with mystery titles, a big stuffed raven; the image sound like a place I would never want to leave. A scene where Annie was setting up themed displays, mentioning both famous and new to me authors and titles made me want to be Annie. What fun it would be to own Death on Demand (you know, without all the murders.)

Laughed 'Til He Died contains a great mystery surrounded by mysteries and was great fun. Actually, it was one of the very best in the series and if Carolyn Hart can entertain this well after 20 books, I would love to read at least 20 more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
On the small South Carolina barrier island of Broward's Rock lives Max and Annie Darling. Annie owns the mystery bookstore Death on Demand while Max runs an inquiry agency Confidential Commissions.

Jean Hughes, director of Haven, a youth recreation center, is not having her contract renewed due to the lobbying of her former lover affluent and influential businessman Booth Wagner. Jean asks Max to help her keep her job because her sister is dying and they want to stay here. However, Booth succeeds in forcing Jean to give up her position. On the night she is to announce her resignation, someone kills Booth. The evidence mounts that Jean killed her ex lover, but both Darlings think otherwise as they believe Jean would never risk anything at that this time due to her beloved sibling's failing health as separation is unacceptable. Max and Annie learn that Booth made a myriad of enemies that include his family and ex wife. However, pressure on Max mounts when Annie and Booth's heir end up in the crosshairs of a killer.

The Darling Death on demand mysteries are always a special treat because the investigation seems genuine with a plenty of suspects and the loving relationship between Max and Annie enriches the whodunit story lines. Carolyn Hart's latest cozy is filled with strong characterizations including a killer in plain sight, but readers will find it almost impossible to determine who that person is even with clues also in plain sight. Carolyn Hart provides another Darling regional mystery.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nash Black VINE VOICE on April 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Carolyn Hart is a master story teller who delivers each new volume in the highly acclaimed Death on Demand with a challenging puzzle that through 20 efforts does not become stale.
The fascinating side issue is the acute accuracy of mystery titles with which Ms. Hart peppers each novel to support the story line. Her choices for the five mystery paintings, the mugs from which Anne and her friends drink their coffee, and the displays Annie creates in the store are all tiny clues to the murderer at hand.
LAUGHED 'TIL HE DIED has a retired tycoon who never forgets and extracts his revenge from anyone who stands in the way of his desires as the victim. As normal with Ms. Hart there are several candidates for the murderer, but who hates the man enough to kill him? Was it the woman he wanted to make his mistress, his wife, his daughter, his ex-wife, his step-son, the list goes on and on with a surprising twist to the conclusion.
LAUGHED 'TIL HE DIED is a great summer read even if you don't live on an island.
Nash Black, author of SINS OF THE FATHERS.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Schwartz on May 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a lively book with old friends in it like Annie and Max Darling, Max's spinny mother, and a few others that have become familiar over time. Ms. Hart writes a good cozy mystery story and this book is no exception. I noticed there wasn't as many references to other mystery writers and mystery books and that is actually a positive thing because it allowed me to focus more on this story. This book focuses around the local youth shelter and a mysterious death as well as two murders. It is apparent that things have not settled down in the supposedly idyllic little town of Broward's Rock. I really enjoy these stories and this book was a nice retreat for me. I look at Ms. Hart's books as retreats from the reality of life. They're fun, cozy and the puzzles are always good ones that keep me guessing. And Annie and Max are just so likeable that it makes reading about their lives a pleasure. Thanks Ms. Hart for pure escapism.
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More About the Author

If you love Topper and Blithe Spirit, celebrate Christmas with It's a Wonderful Life, and live to laugh, please join the Late Bailey Ruth Raeburn, Heaven's irrepressible sleuth, on the Rescue Express October 1 In GHOST GONE WILD. Bailey Ruth returns to earth to help a scruffy but lovable 20-something-video-game inventor who has lots of money and just as many enemies. Bailey Ruth foils a shooting, but discovers her Heavenly supervisor has no idea she's on earth and this time she may never make it back to Heaven!

DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE is the 23rd in the Death on Demand series. Annie Darling insists a woman can't disappear without a trace but a sultry siren walks into the pines on the Fourth of July and no one has seen her since.

For more about Carolyn's books and comments, please visit her website at www.CarolynHart.com

Carolyn writes the Death on Demand series set in a mystery bookstore on a South Carolina sea island and the Bailey Ruth Raeburn series featuring a lively redheaded ghost.

Carolyn is also the author of several WWII novels, including ESCAPE FROM PARIS which is mewly available this month from Seventh Street Books. Escape from Paris is the story of two sisters who defy the Gestapo to help British fliers avoid capture.

In Ghost at Work, Bailey Ruth returns to earth to help someone in trouble. She moves a body, investigates a murder, saves a marriage, prevents a suicide, and--in a fiery finale--rescues a child who knows too much. In Merry, Merry Ghost, Bailey Ruth protects a little boy from danger. In Ghost in Trouble, Bailey Ruth tries to corral a wilful woman determined to play hunt-the-killer. Ghost Gone Wild puts Bailey Ruth at risk of never returning to Heaven.

Letter from Home, a WWII novel set on the home front, received the Agatha Award for Best Mystery of 2003. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. Thirteen-year-old Gretchen Gilman is working for the small-town newspaper during the hot summer of 1944. Murder occurs on the street where she lives, forever changing her life and the lives of those involved.

Hart was one of 10 mystery authors featured at the National Book Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC, in 2003 for Letter from Home and again in 2007 for Set Sail for Murder, 7th in the Henrie O series. In Set Sail for Murder (new in paperback March 2008), Henrie O joins a troubled family on a Baltic cruise and death is an unwelcome passenger.

Hart has been nominated 9 times for the Agatha Award for Best Novel and has won 3 times. In 2007 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic. She will be the International Guest of Honor at Bloody Words in Toronto on June 6-8, 2008.

Hart is a native of Oklahoma City, a journalism graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and a former president of Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and American Crime Writers League.



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