A Death on Demand Mystery

By Carolyn Hart

Berkley Prime Crime, May 2013 ($25.95)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-26077-7

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Shell Hurst has a way about her — a sexy, enticing way that turns men's heads and leaves their wives seething in fury. In her short time on the island of Broward's Rock, she's already stolen one husband, seduced a second, and is working on her third. She has no shame about her conquests, no empathy for those whose lives she's destroyed. She hints that she's going to make a big splash at the Fourth of July dance. She does make a few waves, but nothing earth-shattering. She walks away from the country club into the night and vanishes.

No one, including her current husband, seems to care, and quite a few people breathe easier at her absence. Most people assume she left of her own accord, and good riddance. Only her teenage stepdaughter is concerned enough to seek help from Max Darling, asking him to use his problem-solving skills to find Shell. Max, believing it to be a family issue, gently turns her down, but his wife Annie, owner of Death on Demand, Broward Rock's premiere mystery bookstore, is concerned that the girl might be right. When events confirm that foul play might be involved in Shell's disappearance, Max and Annie take their story to the police chief. He shares their concern, but the mayor tells him there's nothing to investigate, tying his hands.

The detecting duo enlist reinforcements from Max's mother, the lovely Laurel, Emma Clyde, the acclaimed and supremely confident local mystery writer, and Henny Brawley, an expert in all things mystery-related. They ruffle some feathers with their inquiries, but it's nothing new to Broward Rock's own Scoobie Gang. They patiently build their case and track down the wrong-doer with skill, intelligence and flair.

Carolyn Hart is a treasure in the traditional mystery field, always delivering a solid, entertaining story. Take a trip to Broward's Rock for a fine summer read.

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