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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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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.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.