This time I’m adding another series to the Most Popular and Recommended Series. This is another series that I have been remiss in waiting so long to add to this list. It is one of the most popular Cozy Mystery series >> the Death on Demand series by Carolyn Hart. (Just as an aside, I am referring to her as Carolyn Hart since her later books list her name that way. When the series began back on 1987, her name on the cover was Carolyn G. Hart.)
As I just suggested, this series began way back in 1987 with the first book, Death on Demand. Annie Laurance has recently taken over and renovated the bookstore, called “Death on Demand” specializing in mystery books (obviously) on Broward’s Rock Island, a small island off the coast of South Carolina. She inherited the store from her Uncle Ambrose who died in a boating accident about six months before. She had spent every summer with Uncle Ambrose when she was a child and during these visits she had picked up the mystery book bug as well as coming to love the island.
The story begins on a Sunday as Annie is trying to decide whether to cancel her Sunday Night Regulars meeting. On Sunday evenings, she opens the shop to a small group of writers (and want-to-be writers) who lived year-round on the island for discussions about writing. She was agonizing over whether to cancel the meeting, though, because one of the Regulars was threatening to reveal some hidden secret about every member of the group at this particular Sunday night meeting.
Despite her misgivings, she decides to hold the meeting. Unfortunately, at the meeting one of the Regulars is murdered. And, the police chief quickly latches on to Annie as his main suspect in this murder and two others.
Of course, Annie, along with her handsome friend Max Darling, who arrived just that day, and who had followed Annie from New York after tracking her down, has to find the real culprit in order to keep herself out of prison and to keep the “Death on Demand” store in business.
Although published in 1987, the book has many of the characteristics of modern Cozies. A beautiful heroine who has returned to a beloved small town to open a business and who just happens to have a very handsome (and rich in this case) man who helps her solve the mystery in which she is a prime suspect.
Annie, Max, the island, the bookstore, and the book all have a lot of charm. And, the book has a lot of allusions or direct references to other mystery books, mystery authors and mystery sleuths. If you enjoy a veritable deluge of such references and trying to remember all these earlier (or contemporary) authors, series, and sleuths, this book and series is for you! (I have written a post about such “name dropping” in Cozy Mystery books.)
You will be able to test your expertise as a mystery book authority by reading this series! Also, with 26 books in the series, you are guaranteed many hours of enjoyment.
One warning, although this book is Cozy in just about every way possible, there are some strong, adult type words that are used (very occasionally.)