Review: Death of the Party by Carolyn Hart

Title: Death of the Partydeath-of-the-party

Author: Carolyn Hart

Publisher: Avon (2006)

ISBN: 9780060004774

When Britt Barlow walks into Max Darling’s investigative agency and asks for his help snaring a murderer he urges her to go to the police. When she refuses Max, and his mystery book store owner wife Annie, head to Britt’s private island off the coast of South Carolina where she has arranged a weekend party to identify who murdered media magnate Jeremiah Addison on the island the previous year. The party guests, a few friends, family and colleagues of Addison’s, were all on the island at the time of his murder and Britt says one of them is the murderer.

The book is a variation on the house-full-of-possible-murderers story that’s been written many times before. It has a bunch of angst-ridden people with a range of guilty secrets: children angry with parents, wives who suspect their husbands and journalists prying into everything. The book is suspenseful enough, with false leads and red-herrings a-plenty, but offers nothing particularly unique and I suspect if you ask me a specific question about the it in a month or two I won’t be able to remember enough to answer you.

This is the 16th book in Hart’s Death on Demandseries, named for the bookshop run by Annie Darling, and the 9th I’ve read. I normally rather enjoy the references to mystery writers and crime fiction books that pepper the stories but this one didn’t contain many of those and it was also lacking the humour evident in the earlier novels. In fact I found the characters, including Annie and Max, a bit too schmaltzy and earnest for my liking on this outing.

Although they’re not my favourite kind of crime fiction I do like the occasional ‘cosy’ mystery for light relief after spending time with serial killers and brooding detectives but I think I’ll look elsewhere next time I’m in the mood for a light-hearted read.

My rating 2/5

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