Friday, April 18, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Death Walked In by Carolyn Hart

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Death Walked In by Carolyn Hart. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Death Walked In by Carolyn HartBuy from Amazon.com

Death Walked In by
A Death on Demand Mystery

William Morrow (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-072405-6 (0060724056)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-072405-4 (9780060724054)
Publication Date: March 2008
List Price: $23.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Annie Darling discovers the secret of the Franklin house, but death walked in ...

Max Darling hasn't been interested in crime since his brush with a seductive young woman put him in danger of losing his freedom. He even refuses to talk to a woman who calls for help and says she is afraid. The caller leaves word she's hidden something in the antebellum house Max and his wife, Annie, are restoring. When Annie finds out, she hurries to the woman's home, only to discover her shot. Annie hears her final whisper as she holds the dying woman's hand.

Evidence links the dead woman to a nearby home, where a fortune in gold coins has gone missing. The gold coins, rare Double Eagles, were stolen from a house filled with visiting family members, twentysomethings hungry for money and several with secrets they must keep. Is one of them willing to kill for a fortune in coins? Or is it the dead woman's high school dropout son? Max is there when the police arrest the son, but the boy's shock upon learning of his mother's death convinces Max of his innocence. Max and Annie plunge wholeheartedly into the investigation.

But are the coins hidden in Annie and Max's Franklin house? The intruder who shoots at Max seems to think so. And who walks in when Annie discovers the secret of that house?

Review: Carolyn Hart's 17th mystery in the Death on Demand series, Death Walked In, has mystery book store owner Annie Darling in a quest for a treasure of lost gold coins.

It is February on Broward's Rock, the resort island off the South Carolina coast, it's damp and cold and there are few visitors. When Annie is called to go to the home of Gwen Jamison who says that she is afraid of something, Annie finds her shot and dying. Without any proof, the police immediately arrest Gwen's son, Robert, for her murder. He is a high-school dropout and a rabble rouser. He has been in trouble before, but nothing violent. Though Annie's husband Max is able to obtain an alibi for Robert from the minister of the local Baptist Church, it's a mixed blessing. Much to the minister's chagrin, Robert was with his daughter during the time of the murder. This does not completely satisfy the police as some of Gwen's blood was found in his car as was the gun used to shoot her. The questions still unanswered are: if Robert is innocent, who planted the gun and blood in his car? And where is the fortune of gold coins that has gone missing from a historic house that the Darlings are restoring?

The mysteries in this series have typically been in the style of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories, some more so than others, and with varying degrees of success. Death Walked In is one of the better ones and deservedly so. The plot is tightly constructed, and the suspects, though numerous, are well delineated. The romantic interplay between Annie and Max is a bit overdone at times, but they make a good investigative team. When Annie figures out where the coins are and their link to Gwen's murder, it's a puzzle worthy of the grand master herself.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Death Walked In and to HarperCollins for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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