Cover image for White elephant dead
White elephant dead
Hart, Carolyn G.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Avon Twilight, 1999.
Physical Description:
277 pages ; 22 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Grand Island Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Kenmore Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Williamsville Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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The Women's Club of Broward's Rock prides itself on the success of its annual White Elephant Sale. But htis year's sale is marred by a bizarre turn. A sly black mailer coerces five of the town's most prominent citizens into donateing valuable artifacts--or some very unflattering information about the individuals might be revealed. When a volunteer fails to reurn the pick-up van, Henny Brwaley, Annie's best customer and chood chum, drives off to find the missing woman, just as a powerful squall hits the island. Hours later, a worried Annie goes off in search of Henny, only to find the corpse of the missing volunteer. The victim turns out to be the blackmailer, and despite Annie's protests, the new police cheif suspects Henny of the murder. Convinced of their friend's innocence, Annie and Max hobnob with the island's smart set to determine who among them has a secret they would go to any length to protect.

Author Notes

Carolyn G. Hart is the author of eight award-winning Death on Demand mysteries and four Henrie O mysteries. The first writer to win all three major mystery awards--the Agatha, the Anthony, and the Macavity--for her novels, Hart is the former president of the organization Sisters in Crime.

Hart's first novel in her mystery series, entitled Death on Demand, focuses on prime murder suspect Annie Laurance Darling and her attempt to clear her tarnished name. Some of the other novels in the series include Something Wicked, winner of the Agatha Award in 1988 and the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original in 1989, Design for Murder, and Honeymoon with Murder, which won the Anthony Award in 1990. Letter From Home also won the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2003.

Her latest novel is entitled, The Devereaux Legacy. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Broward's Rock, one of South Carolina's barrier islands, is the home of Annie Darling's Death on Demand Bookstore. Real-life death--the unnatural kind--comes to Broward's Rock with remarkable frequency, and Annie, along with husband Max, is usually the one who figures out what happened. This time, their friend Henny is suspected of the murder of a socialite who was blackmailing some of the town's citizens into donating valuable antiques to the annual white-elephant sale. It's up to the the Darlings and their helpers--the island's old-girl network--to find the real culprit before the boneheaded new police chief collars Henny. Hart sprinkles the text with numerous newspaper articles and checklists that add small-town ambience but ultimately prove distracting. This small caveat aside, the eleventh Death on Demand mystery delivers charming characters, both new and old, a tantalizing mystery, and plenty of appealing descriptions of coastal landscapes. Recommend this series to fans of zany cozies like Joan Hess' Maggody series or Leslie Meier's Lucy Stone novels. --John Rowen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mystery aficionados will get a workout while trying to catch all the references to mystery authors and their protagonists in Hart's 11th entry (after Yankee Doodle Dead) in her Agatha Award-winning Death on Demand series. Annie Darling, who owns a mystery bookshop on the barrier island of Broward's Rock, S.C., is appalled when Kathryn Girard, one of the island's Women's Club members, is slain and Annie's friendÄand good customerÄHenny Brawley, who was injured at the scene, is accused of the crime. Kathryn was supposed to be collecting donations for the annual white elephant sale, but instead she used the Women's Club van to visit the houses of four wealthy families. When Annie and her amateur sleuth husband, Max, discover a stash of thousand-dollar bills in a photo album taken from Kathryn's apartment, they realize that the dead woman had been blackmailing their friends and neighbors. But why? What did the richest of the island's residents have to hide? And who would kill to preserve their secret? As Henny recuperates in the hospital, Annie and Max set out to prove her innocent. Hart's panoply of vivid charactersÄa tough mystery writer, a dippy mother-in-law, a hard-working single father, an arrogant police chiefÄmakse for entertaining set pieces, but their relationships aren't always fully developed. Moreover, Hart's copious allusions to fellow genre authors and their sleuths becomes distracting. Though no white elephant, this is not prime Hart; still, cozy fans should cotton to it well enough. Author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Henny Brawley, organizer of the Broward's Rock (SC) women's club annual white elephant sale, goes missing, book store owner and series sleuth Annie Darling quickly begins a search. They find Henny, but unconscious and in the vicinity of a dead body. The new police chief pins the murder on Henny, so Annie, Max, and droves of club members come to the rescue. Bubbling with energy, good humor, hearty appetite, and affection, Annie saves the island village from murderous deceit. Bouncy prose, nifty characters, and frequent references to other mysteries makes this "heartily" recommended for series fans. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/99.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



White Elephant Dead A Death On Demand Mystery Chapter One Loretta Campbell tugged at the twisted sheet. She was so uncomfortable. And so cold. If she pushed the bell, no one would come. Or it would be that impatient nurse's aide. Never saw a real nurse anymore. It wasn't the way it had been when Robert was a young doctor and she was a nurse. She was so sick. Too bad about knowing so much. Everyone pretended she was going to be all right. But she knew better. Loretta wished she'd changed her will. It still made her mad. How could Gary ignore the truth, treating Sam and Kate the same? It wasn't right. All these years she'd not said anything. Aloud. Oh yes, Marie knew how she felt. One Christmas Eve, Marie had come up to her bedroom, stepped inside, closed the door and leaned against it. She was small, but that night she'd been formidable. Marie made it clear: Not a word, not a gesture, not a hint of difference or she'd make sure Loretta never saw Sam. Never. "Not right." She pushed the words out of her tight throat. The old resentment boiled inside her, blotting out the pain. "Of course it wasn't right." The voice was calm, soothing as ointment on a bum. Loretta blinked but she couldn't see, not really, just a dark shape at the bedside. That woman. One of the hospital volunteers. She'd come before. Always so quiet. A listener. A soft hand gently held Loretta's cold fingers. "Tell me all about it." The voice was as soothing as honey to a parched throat. "'Don't hold anything back. No one will ever know but me. It will make you feel so much better... Kathryn Girard's hands moved swiftly, competently. She loved the steady, pulsing click of the knitting needles. She sat quietly, as comfortable as a cat in her cushiony easy chair behind the low Queen Anne table that served as her cash desk. She always smiled when customers commented on the lack of a cash register -- a cash box served her needs-and the absence of computers or credit card paraphernalia. "I enjoy the simple life," she always said with a slow, satisfied smile. "No credit cards. Not even a car." People were accustomed to seeing her on her sturdy bicycle. Some even went so far as to praise her commitment to a slow pace. As for the store, "'Cash or a check," she always said, her lips curving. When the bell tinkled at the door of her narrow, dimly lit shop on a steamy Tuesday in September, she looked up without much interest. Then her eyes widened. For an instant, her hands were motionless. But the needles were clicking softly as the woman neared the desk, sharp gray eyes scanning the display of Delft china. A careful observer would note that most of the pieces were chipped. The woman approaching was a very careful observer. Kathryn looked down at her knitting, ignored the woman. After all, the lighting was dim. Perhaps Frances wouldn't even notice. The woman was tall and thin, with a jutting-out face and uncompromising wire glasses; she came to an abrupt stop in front of the table. Kathryn continued to knit, her eyes downcast. "Frieda!" The sharp voice rose in surprise. "Frieda! Whatever are you doing here? Why, the police are still looking for you. Someone at church told me the other day that they never close a missing person case. It was a seven-day wonder when you disappeared." Kathryn looked up slowly. "I beg your pardon?" Her eyes widened. A slight frown marred her heart-shaped face. Frances Wilson clapped her hands on her bony hips, poked her face forward like a questing turtle. "Frieda March. I'd know you anywhere." "I'm sorry." Kathryn's voice was slightly amused with just the right dash of kindly condescension. "Actually, you don't know me. I'm Kathryn Girard. I suppose your friend must resemble me. But I assure you, I'm not -- who did you say -- " "Frieda March," Frances snapped. "No." Kathryn was firm. "And where are you from?" "Winnetka." Kathryn gave a slight shrug. "Where is that?" "Winnetka, Illinois." Suspicious gray eyes scoured Kathryn's face. "I've never been there." Kathryn put her knitting on the table. "I hope you are enjoying your holiday." That was the trouble with resorts. People came from everywhere. "Are you looking for anything special? I have a nice selection of sandwich glass. And some pewter candlesticks from Boston." "No. No, thanks." Frances was backing toward the door. As soon as the bell tinkled, Kathryn rose from her chair. She was thinking fast. No matter who Frances contacted, nothing would likely happen for a few days. Today was Tuesday. Kathryn nodded. Thursday would be time enough. She needed a car. Usually her customers came to her. She thought longingly of her sleek black Porsche garaged at her hacienda in San Miguel de Allende. How could she --Oh, of course. She laughed aloud. What fun. What a clever way to make one last run. Vince Ellis clicked off his computer. He looked at the yellow legal pad next to his keyboard. He was on to a hell of a story. But there was no spring in his step as he moved away from his study, walked softly up the stairs and stopped by the first bedroom. He opened the door gently. In the shaft of fight from the hall, Meg's long blond hair splayed on the pillow. But even in a deep sleep, Piggy, the old ragged cloth animal, was tightly clutched to her side. Piggy was all she'd brought from her old life. Meg was doing well now, although perhaps too often silent for a seven-year-old. And she still had nightmares. Doing well, but still oh so vulnerable. Vince Ellis closed Meg's door. Desperate danger called for desperate measures. He would do what he had to do... White Elephant Dead A Death On Demand Mystery . Copyright © by Carolyn Hart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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