Carolyn Hart has another delightful mystery in her "Death on Demand" series featuring Annie and Max Darling, "Dead by Midnight" (William Morrow, 282 pages).
Mystery and murder hover over the seemingly idyllic isle of Broward's Rock like a morning fog that will not lift in the afternoon sun.
When Annie's recent hire, Pat Merridew, fails to show up for work and is later discovered to have died, presumably by her own hand, the reader knows there's a mystery in the making.
Pat's friend, Henny Brawley, implores Annie to investigate the matter.
It seems the cause of Ms. Merridew's death was a deliberate overdose of oxycontin mixed in with her Irish coffee. Annie suspects this isn't a case of suicide and begins to investigate Pat Merridew's former boss, attorney Glen Jamison.
When the financially strapped barrister, Mr. Jamison, is found shot to death, Annie must persuade the local police chief, Billy Cameron, to consider the idea that the two deaths are connected.
The beautiful coastal island of Broward's Rock has been visited by a calculating, and very lucky, killer who nearly eludes the local police, but not, thank heavens, Annie Darling.
"Death by Midnight" is another "cozy" mystery which will exercise the reader's "little grey cells" in fine fashion.
It has all the elements of a traditional mystery: a beautiful setting, an older "wealthy" man in a second marriage to a much younger woman, unhappy stepchildren, and a handsome gardener who is a bit of a gigolo.
What more could the classic mystery reader want for a bit of mischief and murder!
This reviewer thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Hart's lovely little play on words with the Irish coffee and Jamison clan.
The bloodhound with the great "schnoz" named "Durante" (as in Jimmy) was a cute touch.
Fans of the classic whodunit should whip up a little Irish coffee (neat) and sit back and savor Ms. Hart's latest mystery, "Dead by Midnight."