Death on Demand (Death on Demand Series #1)

Death on Demand (Death on Demand Series #1)


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At Annie Laurance's Death On Demand bookstore on Broward's Rock Island, South Carolina, murder most foul suddenly isn't confined to the well-stocked shelves. Author Elliot Morgan's abrupt demise during a weekly gathering of famous mystery writers called the Sunday Night Regulars is proof positive that a bloody sword is sometimes mightier than a brilliant pen.With Annie in the unenviable position of primary police suspect, the pretty young mystery maven and her wealthy paramour, Max Darling, embark on an investigation into a classic locked-room mystery with high stakes. For failing to unmask a brutal and ingenious killer could mean prison for Ms. Laurance. While success could mean her death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780736648387
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
Publication date: 01/01/2000
Series: Death on Demand Series , #1

About the Author

An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty-five novels of mystery and suspense including the Bailey Ruth Ghost Novels and the Death on Demand Mysteries. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She has also been honored with the Amelia Award for significant contributions to the traditional mystery from Malice Domestic and was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City, where she enjoys mysteries, walking in the park, and cats. She and her husband, Phil, serve as staff—cat owners will understand—to brother and sister brown tabbies.

Read an Excerpt

Alone, each item was insignificant. Some were easily found. A few were stolen from friends or acquaintances, but their value was so slight that the losses occasioned mild puzzlement and nothing more.
A pair of doctor’s rubber gloves.
A spool of black extra-strong button-and-carpet thread.
A handful of assorted keys.
Clear fingernail polish.
Polish remover.
One dart.
There was just one more item, the most important one of all.
The big collie barked first, then the cockers chimed in shrilly, shifting nervously in their pens. The deep-throated woof of the German shepherd boomed against the plastered walls.
In the hallway, the figure bending near the keyhole of the third door stiffened.
Goddam those goddam dogs.
Sweat slid between skin and the tight sheath of the rubber gloves, making it hard to work the keys.
All the dogs barked now, even the sleepy, ancient dachshund.
The fourth key worked. The lock clicked and the door swung open. Once inside, the figure shut the door, then switched on the flashlight. The bright beam danced over the immaculate linoleum floor, bounced up to the worktable, then to the rows of wooden cabinets. These, too, were locked.
It took patience. The dogs continued to bark, and the frantic yelps rebounded from the walls and tore at the senses. When the fifth cabinet door was open, a gloved hand reached up to pull out the third drawer. There were two small plastic vials in that drawer. The labels read Succostrin.
Jill Kearney always drove too fast, with the windows down. She loved the feel of the cool October night air against her face. She’d always liked nighttime. Nothing looked quite the same after dark, not even this road, a road she knew so well she could drive it automatically. She hummed softly. What a wonderful job she had, even if everyone thought she was crazy to love it. Usually, she didn’t have to go back to the hospital after her ten o’clock check, but that big Doberman had to be turned every three hours after his surgery to prevent pneumonia.
The road dipped just before her turnoff. The lights from the Honda skimmed across an automobile parked deep in the shadow of a live oak. Odd place to park. Must have had car trouble. The Honda picked up speed, and she leaned into the curve. Because the road curved so sharply, the Honda’s lights flashed up into the sky, and the moving beam of light in the third window on the east side of the clinic was sharply distinct.
As the Honda squealed to a stop, Jill flicked off the motor and the headlights, staring at the now dark row of windows.
Something had disturbed the dogs. Even out here in the parking lot, the sound of their frantic barking rose and fell.
A light had moved behind one of the windows. She was sure of it.
She looked around the graveled parking lot. It was empty, of course. No one had any business at the Island Hills Veterinary Clinic at one o’clock in the morning. No one but she.
Perhaps she had imagined the light, but she wasn’t imagining the barking. She’d better check the rooms on the east side. Just to be sure. She picked up her ring of keys and slipped out of the car.
Opening the back door, she flipped on the hall lights. Except for the almost deafening rumble of barks, accented by the high-pitched yapping of the cockers, everything seemed just as usual: the hall floors glistened from their final swab of the day, the air smelled of disinfectant and dogs.
Jill hesitated, then pivoted and walked up the hallway, unlocking doors as she went.
She unlocked the third door, the door that led into the dispensary, pushed it open, and reached out to turn on the light.
Her hand never touched the switch. The side of her head exploded in an agony of pain.

What People are Saying About This

Nancy Pickard

Irresistable! Hart drops big names from the mystery world like murderers drop clues and Annie and Max are the most endearing new pair of sleuths since Tommy and Tuppence!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Death on Demand (Death on Demand Series #1) 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
readersam More than 1 year ago
Hart wastes too much space referring to other fictional sleuths. I purchased 2 of her books hoping to find a new author to read....will not purchase any more Hart books
AnaLeigh63 More than 1 year ago
My mom likes this series. Not quite as much as the 'culinary cozies', but she enjoyed it.
WDWFan6 More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Valerie Wolzien & Mary Daheim's books and never thought I would find another series I would enjoy as much, but I have. Great story & characters.
Kathy89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read in this series. Mystery book store owner is accused of murder. It was okay but I didn't like the 80s feel to the romantic angle of the story.I prefer Marianne MacDonald's heroine in her Dido Hare antique bookstore series.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A "cozy mystery" and first in a series set in an island off South Carolina. Annie Laurance owns a mystery bookshop there, Death on Demand popular with a bunch of mystery writers who regularly meet there. Soon after one odious author among them threatens to tell their secrets, he's killed and Annie finds herself a suspect. She's helped by Max Darling, an old flame who comes to visit her from New York City. A lot of the fun of this book is all the references to classic mysteries and writers, but it wasn't enough to make me want to read more of the series. Mostly, that's because of Annie herself. She's more in the too-stupid-to-live category than the super-sleuth category and the police chief determined to suspect her denser than lead. I also thought the identity of the murderer rather obvious from the beginning, so as a whodunnit this didn't impress me, but it was a light, quick read featuring an appealing romance.
JoAnnSmithAinsworth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting setting and premise, but heroine acted immaturely. Got tired of her putting herself in danger to one-up her boyfriend.
victorianrose869 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
February 12, 2000Death on DemandCarolyn HartThis has been one of my favorite cozy mystery series¿ for some time now ¿ the Annie Laurance Darling ¿Death on Demand¿ series, as it¿s called. This is the very first book in the series, and I had never read it because it¿s never in the library. I bought the paperback at Barnes & Noble.Death on Demand is the name of a bookstore. Annie Laurance, originally from TX, is a failed NY actress who inherits the bookstore, which is located in the moss-dripping, fern-covered island town of Broward¿s Rock, South Carolina. She¿s inherited the store from her beloved Uncle Ambrose, with whom she spent many summers as a child, working and playing at the bookstore. So now Annie¿s in Broward¿s Rock permanently, and close behind is Max Darling, her love interest from NY. They had broken up shortly before, primarily because they¿re so different. Max is extremely rich, lazy, and pleasure-seeking, and Annie is hard-working, poor and honest. Max has followed her to SC, so almost from the start they¿re a team (they get back together, naturally).I love the fictional bookstore. There¿s a stuffed raven named Poe perched by the inside of the door, and a local artist paints scenes from mystery novels for the walls for a monthly contest.This first story centers around a group of local writers who gather every Sunday night at the bookstore. One of them, a trash-writer named Elliott Morgan, unwisely reveals that his new book will reveal secret dirt about all of the others. Of course he ends up dead shortly thereafter, and everyone has a motive. Even Annie has a motive, because he actually owned the building her shop is in and was threatening to raise her rent to an impossible point. I plan to buy the others in the series and read them in order (not all at once, but over time).
cameling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An owner of a bookstore specializing in mystery books holds weekly Saturday evening meetings with the island's mystery writers. At one of these meetings,the power goes off, a thud and a scream ring out in the darkness. When the lights come on, one of their own is found dead on the floor, a poisoned dart in his throat.The island's rather ineffective police chief wants to pin the murder on Annie, the owner of the bookstore. But she knows she didn't do it, and so does her boyfriend, Max. If the police aren't going to search too hard for the murderer, then they'll have to do something about it themselves.And so their investigations begin. What did Elliot, the dead man have on all of those gathered at the meeting? He had said that he was going to be announcing all the nasty secrets of them all. Is that what caused his death? It does seem that none of the Saturday evening attendees had a spotless past. But which was it that was enough to kill? And what connection, if any, did this murder have to do with the murder of a vet just the night before, and a 3rd murder the day after? And was the accidental death of Annie's uncle really a murder?Annie and Max are pressed for time trying to tie all these questions before the killer strikes again or before Annie is arrested for murders she did not commit.Lots of references to titles of mystery books throughout.
honeydew69862004 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Death On Demand is about a woman who lives on an island and owns a mystery bookstore. She is accused of a triple homicide and it's up to her and her ex-boyfriend to figure out who did it. I kept guessing at who the guilty party was but was wrong. It was a good enough book that I'm looking into the series.
jasmyn9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Annie has recently found herself owner of her late uncle's mystery bookstore named Death on Demand. Every Sunday she has a group of mystery writers in as a group to discuss whatever it is mystery writers talk about. This Sunday goes a little different than past ones. One of the writers, Elliot, is speaking on all the dirt he's managed to dig up on all the other group members. But just as Elliot gets started something happens, he ends up dead, and Annie end up the prime suspect.As Annie and her friend Max rush around the island to find clues to clear her name, several more end up dead. This is where I started losing interest. I have read further books into the series, and enjoyed them. I just could not get into anyone here and the solution seemed somewhat thrown together at the last second. It just wasn't quite my cup of tea.2.5/3
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On a whim I plucked this book off my mystery shelves, and I am so glad that I did. I read one book in the Death on Demand series long ago, and bought some others to try out, including this one, the first in the series. Then they were put on my shelves and forgotten, which is a shame, because this book was so much fun. The main character, Annie Laurance, runs a mystery book store, and there are references galore to other mystery books and series. In fact, the only down side to reading this was that it made me want to read a ton of other mysteries right afterward. As for the story itself, it was nothing new - a member of her mystery writers club is murdered, and everyone else is a suspect - but the characters were fun, the setting was evocative, and the romantic tension between Annie and Max was wonderful. I'm definitely returning to this series.
ravingraven on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
LOVE this series. Death on demand is the first in the Death on Demand series. It is a great story. Annie Laurence, proprietor of Death on Demand mystery bookstore is the main suspect in the murder of a hated local author. The murdered guy was really hateful, and there was a slew of people who wanted him dead. Great cozy mystery. I also love how Annie has a plethora of mystery knowledge.
phyllis2779 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read a bunch of books by this author and then I stopped reading them. Don't remember why and I don't remember this book. This one was early in the series and probably one of the ones I liked enough to pick up later ones in the library.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
I didn’t really like book very much. First I didn’t like the main character, Annie. She goes off does her own investigation and does everything wrong. At the end she says “How could I be so dumb” and I couldn’t agree more. Second is the writing style. I think the author was trying to make it sound a bit more southern with several people being a “louse” and a reference to someone being as “slick as the hide of a greased pig” which is fine except that the two main characters are from New York City and haven’t been in South Carolina long. Last was the plot. It runs around making you look at everyone while it’s plain as day who the killers is, mostly because the evidence never points to them. Overall I found it pretty disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story has great plot and character development. Unfortunately, despite having a large vocabulary and excellent writing skills, the author diminished the quality of her work by using profanity throughout the book. Too bad, I probably would have bought every book in this series and looked at her other works, too. If you are like me and want a quality book without profanity - this book is not for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an ok read but very typical. I knew from the beginning who the murderer was. I will read book 2 and hope I don't guess who-dun-it until the end........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nancydrew123 More than 1 year ago
A bookstore set on a South Carolina island was very inviting. I loved Annie and Max-- especially liked Max's mother. The story offered a classic whodunit setting. The plot was clever with a few interesting twists and turns. I didn't like the references to the mystery authors. It was tedious and a little annoying at times. I found myself reading past them so I could continue on with the story. I didn't guess who the killer was until the end. I have enjoyed all of the books I've read in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a nice series, I have read two of them and plan on reading more.
DyAnne07 More than 1 year ago
Very fun and cute read. I just discovered this series while looking for a different mystery writer to start reading (this series started in the late 80s and did have me giggling about the "new" tech such as computers and cell phones). Story centers around Annie, an owner of a bookstore (which is named Death on Demand), and a group of mystery writers. Mystery fans will enjoy the contest Annie holds in which customers try to guess the scenes from mystery classics depicted in paintings (the answers are given at the end of the books and this "contest" is repeated in each book in the series). Mystery-fan Annie also often refers to other fictional detectives, which I personally enjoyed. Overall an enjoyable read with interesting characters and I look forward reading more in the series.
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