©2000 Carolyn G. Hart; (P)2000 Books on Tape, Inc.
"A story as entertaining as any in this deservedly popular series." (Publishers Weekly)
This was a typical Death on Demand Book in which Annie and Max have to save the day. The mystery aspect of the book was okay, but it was second to the many relationship problems in the book. Annie's father returns to Annie claiming that he had been looking for her for years and had never found her. However he admits that he knew Ambrose and thought that he would lead him to Annie. If that was the case, why did it take him so long? Annie who is usually level headed and strong wimps out and forgets about the fact that dear old dad had abandoned her and her mother. I felt like the different relationships in this book was the true focus of the plot. It just didn't ring true for the characters.
Two new important characters are introduced in this book. Annie finds her estranged father and a young sister she didn't know she had. This reunion forces Annie to come to grips with some negative feelings about her long absent father. The tone of the book is more serious than some other entries in the series.
One of my favorite parts of the book is a bizarre house where Annie encounters a group of very odd characters. The descriptions of the house are well written. I found myself smiling and chuckling as I read them.
Laurel, Annie's seemingly ditzy mother in law, is a unique and fascinating character. Do not take her at face value - she's not nearly as silly as you might be led to believe.
This is one of my favorite series. The cast of characters is interesting and Broward's Rock seems like a real place to me.
Kate Reading's narration is superb. She is one of the best!
This is a satisfying, entertaining cozy.
"too many lists"
I'd never come across this author before (I chose the book because I'd liked the narrator's style in another book). I think this is one case where the written word would have been better. My eye can skim across lists, my ear had to endure them. The book starts (after going through all the blurb usually on the back cover) with descriptions of reactions of several characters who are summoned to a relation for a visit. We don't come across those characters again for a considerable time, by which time I'd forgotten anything about them. When they do reappear it is only for lists of reactions. Marguerite, their host, says or does something and we then have a string of sentences along the lines of 'Terry gazed at his shoes. Donna pursed her lips thoughtfully. Happy looked worried. Wayne.... etc etc. I was ready to scream! Apart from their reactions we learn nothing more about these people until the last quarter of the book.
Add to this lists of authors of other crime novels, which are given every so often on the pretext that heroine owns a bookshop selling mysteries.
The only interesting element was the relationship between the heroine and her new found father and stepsister, but even that petered out.
I'm usually no good at guessing 'who dunnit', but the murderer was been flagged up so far ahead I was sure it was a red herring and was puzzled why it wasn't brought up to be dismissed.
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