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    Review of DEATH OF THE PARTY by Carolyn Hart (see her website)


    William Morrow, April 2005

    A beautiful woman walks into Max Darling's detective agency with a problem. A year earlier, she hid evidence that her brother-in-law's death was a murder. Now she is being blackmailed. She needs to find the true killer before bringing in the police. Max is initially reluctant to participate but agrees when he sees that Britt Barlow is going through with her dangerous plan to assemble all of the guests from that deadly weekend a year previously. Along with his wife, mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling, Max agrees to head to the remote island to protect Britt and help investigate the murder.

    The woman, Britt's, plan is put in jeopardy when one of the guests, the blackmailer, announces that the group was brought to find the killer--and states that he knows who really killed the millionaire. Max knows the announcement puts the blackmailer in danger, but he can only do so much--and there are too many people to protect. When the blackmailer is killed and the groundskeeper heads off with the boat, Annie, Max, Britt and the others are alone and out of contact--knowing only that one of their number is a killer. And everyone has a motive.

    Reflecting Annie Darling's mystery bookstore career, author Carolyn Hart (see more reviews of novels by Hart) combines elements from classic mysteries by Agatha Christie and Nero Wolfe among others into a fresh story. DEATH OF THE PARTY steps away from Annie's bookstore and some of the familiar devices of the other books in the series, but readers will enjoy seeing Annie and Max back in action.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 3/18/05

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