Release Date: May 2, 2017
Series: Death on Demand
Publisher: Penguin Group
Bookshop owner Annie Darling sells mystery novels for a living in Broward’s Rock, South Carolina. Maybe it is fitting that somehow Annie and her husband, Max, always seem to get mixed up in real life mysteries. Ves Roundtree inherits a fortune from her brother that will be further divided among several family members and friends upon Ves’s own death. It seems someone may not want to wait for their share of the money and an attempt is made on Ves’s life. Soon afterwards, Ves disappears and Annie and Max work together to stop a killer from striking again.
This long-running cozy series has all the familiar elements that fans love – Annie and Max helping to solve a crime, with plenty of help from friends Henny and Emma, as well as Max’s mother, Laurel, but still remains fresh. The intricate plots of each installment are unique so that none of the books seem like a rehash of a prior book. Since Annie does run a mystery bookstore, there are plenty of references to modern and classic mysteries for readers to enjoy.
Walking on My Grave had the feel of an Agatha Christie novel, but modernized and set in South Carolina instead of England. The premise is classic in which would-be heirs become prime suspects in a murder, but there is a twist to this story that I won’t reveal so the surprise isn’t spoiled. I enjoyed seeing Annie, Max, Henny, Emma, and Laurel cleverly and subtly question the suspects to see who has motive and opportunity. It is a delight when the solution is dramatically revealed at the end with all the suspects gathered together to hear the truth about the guilty party.
Another thing I like about the series is how much in love Annie and Max are. Annie is impetuous and energetic and Max is charming and laid-back, but both are intelligent and loyal to their friends and loved ones. I usually adore both characters, but Max comes more of a spoiled, mama’s boy than usual with Annie sulking a bit over the attention Max pays to his mother. Annie has always had some mixed emotions when it comes to Laurel, but something about the dynamic between the three of them detracted from the story in this book. Otherwise, I enjoyed Hart’s modern take on a classic mystery theme and think fans of the series as well as new readers will enjoy this entertaining book.