When wealthy, widowed art patron Virginia Neville officially announces her engagement to Jake O'Neill -- her handsome, charming, and much younger fiancé -- at a gala gallery opening, not all the gathered friends and stepfamily are pleased. And before the last champagne bubble pops, murder disrupts the grand celebration. Bookstore owner Annie Darling has a vested interest in the investigation, and she's determined to untangle an unholy marriage of jealousy, blackmail, and malicious mischief, even if it means having to cross swords with hubby Max and cross paths with a cruelly clever stalker.
Hart supplies superior cozy fare in her 14th mystery (after 2002's April Fool Dead) to feature amateur sleuth Annie Darling and her husband, Max. Everyone in the Low Country island of Broward's Rock, S.C., has been looking forward to the gala opening of a new art collection at the Neville Gallery, owned by heiress Virginia Neville, who intends to use the evening not only to dispel the foggy gloom of January on the island but also to announce her engagement to much younger artist Jake O'Neill. However, the party quickly ends when Jake turns up murdered. Max, deputized immediately to help, finds himself at cross-purposes with Annie, owner of the Death on Demand bookstore, who seeks to vindicate her friend who's the prime suspect. A fast-paced plot and a skillfully integrated sub-plot will keep the reader involved and guessing until the very end. Hart expertly handles numerous characters, notably Max's quirky, but lovable mother and Henny, Death on Demand's best customer and mystery expert, who plays a clever mind game with Annie. The interplay between Annie and Max enhances the plot, where in lesser hands it would become the focus. Those who appreciate crime fiction in the Agatha Christie Mousetrapmold will also go for this superb whodunit.
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Great mystery... did not see the ending:-)