April Fool Dead - Death on Demand, Bk 13 Author:Carolyn Hart Ha-ha! You're dead! Someone is playing a rather nasty April Fool's prank on mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling. A felonious forger on the idyllic -- if rarely tranquil -- South Carolina island of Broward's Rock has made it appear as if Annie is accusing some of her neighbors of murder. In the wink of a bloodshot eye, the Darling name is mud .... more » . . and then the Broward's Rock body count starts mysteriously increasing. And now it's up to Annie to follow the well-hidden trail of the vicious trickster -- or a secret slayer's next lethal ?joke? may very well be on her!« less
Sadly for one of my favorite series, April Fool Dead feels forced and formulaic, like the author was reading down a checklist. Not a strong entry into the Death on Demand series, but a fast easy read through a perfectly good book. Definitely start at the beginning if you are new to the series.
Annie Darling, owner of the mystery book store Death on Demand, is busily preparing for a book signing of local author Emma Clyde's latest bestseller "Whodunit?". Annie, who is always fond of sponsoring contests in her store, has come up with a special promotion for Emma's book signing. The special contest is a challenge to identify nine mysteries and their authors, based on clues given in an advertising flyer which Annie has distributed around the island. However, several days before the signing event, another set of mysterious flyers appear on Broward's Rock Island which appear as if Annie is accusing some of her neighbors or murder and other crimes as part of her contest. In order to clear the name of her store, Annie and her husband Max set out to find the real author of the fake contest flyers.
I felt that the first half of this book moved pretty slowly. I did enjoy Ms. Hart's wonderful descriptions of the South Carolina swamps and wildlife. The pace of the story picked up for the last one hundred pages or so, when two island residents are found brutally murdered. Together with her friend Henny, Annie and Max try to discover if the flyers are related to the murders, or if the flyers were just a smoke screen to divert attention from the real murderer.