Ellen Hart was named the 2017 MWA Grand Master, the most distinguished lifetime achievement award offered in the mystery community.
In FEVER IN THE DARK by MWA Edgars Grand Master Ellen Hart, Fiona and Annie return home from their one year anniversary trip to discover that their poignant proposal video has been posted on YouTube and has garnered hundreds of thousands of hits. The video is on the verge of going viral, and there’s enormous media interest in Fiona and Annie, as their fame comes just on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage across the country. As some of the attention starts to turn vicious, Fiona pulls in an old friend, private investigator Jane Lawless, to help separate the harmless threats from the potentially harmful.
As the media storm continues to grow, Fiona revels in the attention, but Annie is furious. Fiona has always known that Annie has secrets, but her newfound notoriety threatens to bring Annie's past straight to their door. And then, when a murder occurs and Annie and Fiona are both suspects, it’s up to Jane to prove their innocence…although the more she learns, the more she starts to wonder whether they actually are innocent.
Ellen Hart will once again captivate readers with her trademark smart, clever, mystery plotting and rich, human characters.
Series fans will best appreciate Hart's 24th Jane Lawless mystery set in Minneapolis (after 2015's The Grave Soul). Fiona, an old friend of Jane's, and her wife, Annie, start receiving unwanted attention when their marriage-proposal video goes viral a year after their wedding. The strain of being media darlings is further complicated by Fi getting creepy mash notes from an anonymous stranger. The one benefit to the exposure is that Annie's estranged family attempt to reconnect with her. However, Annie has a secret from her past that involves her psychiatrist brother-in-law, Noah Foster, which she wants to keep secret. When Noah is murdered he's poisoned and shot Annie is a prime suspect. But so is Noah's mistress, who was also one of his patients. Jane does some sleuthing, but she's more focused on running her restaurant business than solving the central crime. A subplot involving Jane's ex, Julia, is a welcome distraction in an entry that lacks tension, despite a bomb scare and suspicious behavior by various supporting characters.
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24th book in series!
Fever in the Dark by Ellen Hart is the twenty-fourth A Jane Lawless Mystery series. Fiona and Annie are returning home to after their vacation to celebrate their one year wedding anniversary. As soon as they get off the plane, their phones start ringing. Their friend, Roxy DeCastro has left a message asking them to contact her before arriving home. It turns out that Roxy had a video created of Fiona’s proposal to Annie and then their wedding. It was subsequently uploaded onto You-tube, and the video is getting millions of hits. The video upload happens to coincide with the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage. The press is staked out at their home thanks to someone notifying them of the pairs imminent (gee I wonder who). Fiona and Annie watch the video and it is beautiful. But not all the remarks are positive. Annie is upset and wants the video taken down. Annie is afraid that someone will dredge up her past which she does not want to come to light. Fiona has a problem that she has yet to share with Annie. Someone is stalking her and sending her letters. Fiona asks Jane Lawless to investigate the matter. After a bomb scare, Cordelia Thorn invites Annie, Fiona and their guests to stay with her. Cordelia soon regrets her invitation when Noah Foster is found dead in her driveway. When Annie ends up the prime suspect, Jane will have to step up her game to find the real killer.
Fever in the Dark may be the twenty-fourth book in the series, but it can be read alone. The author provides the necessary background information on the characters for readers. I did not enjoy reading Fever in the Dark. I found the pace of Fever in the Dark to be slow which made the book seem long (even though it is average length). The two mysteries may seem complex, but they are easily solved. I could identify the stalker early in the novel. The killer is equally easy to recognize. I believe the author tried to stuff too much into this book. We have two mysteries plus the current play at the theater, Sharif Berry visiting, Bridget and Noah are in town, and we get background information on Annie (there is more). Why Annie left home and what happened to her afterward is revealed through a series of diary entries. I thought the entries were lengthy and interrupted the flow of the story. I wish the author had found a different way to present the information (maybe through flashbacks or Annie having an honest conversation with Fiona). I felt that Ellen Hart had one too many barmy characters (writers should really limit it to one wacky person per story). Cordelia is over-the-top and annoying and then we have Roxy who is bubbly, perky, and exasperating. Jane was not the prominent character in Fever in the Dark (especially in the first half of the novel). I give Fever in the Dark 2.5 out of 5 stars. I wish the author had not included foul language in Fever in the Dark. It was not necessary or needed. I did not enjoy reading Fever in the Dark. Fever in the Dark was just not the right novel for me.