Cover image for April fool dead : a death on demand mystery
April fool dead : a death on demand mystery
Hart, Carolyn G.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, [2002]

Physical Description:
307 pages ; 25 cm.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
Boston Free Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Clarence Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Collins Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Orchard Park Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Death is no joke on Broward's Rock, though reading about deadly doings remains as popular a pastime as ever for citizens of the stormy South Carolina sea island. Now, with spring newly sprung, Annie Darling has conceived of an ingenious promotional scheme to draw customers into her Death on Demand bookshop for the upcoming in-store appearance by world-class mystery author Emma Clyde. Offering a free book to anyone who can solve a series of clues about popular whodunits, Annie and hubby Max pass out their flyers all over town. But an April Fool prankster is distributing a counterfeit flyer, supposedly devised by the Darlings, offering clues to several lethal local "accidents" that have occurred lately -- including the drowning of Ms. Clyde's own husband -- complete with not-so-vague accusations of murder.

Suddenly the Darling name is mud, thanks to the vicious slanders of an unknown counterfeiter. And Annie knows that she herself is going to have to do the bulk of the sleuthing -- with the only intermittently effective aid of Max--if she doesn't want this particular April Fool's to last well past Memorial Day.

Then, just as things couldn't seem to get any worse, they do. In the wink of a bloodshot eye, Annie's hunt for a malicious trickster has become a desperate search for a killer. Because now more than her reputation is at stake. If she can't rid her idyllic isle of a secret slayer, the malefactor's next murderous "joke" may be on her!

Brimming with stunning surprises, rapier wit, and wonderful suspense -- boasting the author's trademark cast of uniquely unforgettable eccentrics -- Carolyn Hart's lucky thirteenth Death on Demand novel is an unmitigated delight, ranking with the very best of this, or any, contemporary cozy mystery series. No foolin'!

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 2

Booklist Review

Annie Darling, owner of Death on Demand Mystery Bookstore, Broward's Rock Island, South Carolina, is planning a book signing for mystery writer Emma Clyde, but several of her promotions are sabotaged by a prankster. Then a teacher and one of her students are murdered, and the boneheaded police chief considers Annie a suspect. To clear herself, Annie sets out to solve the crimes, with help from her husband, Max. This thirteenth Death on Demand mystery starts slowly, but Hart picks up the pace quickly and does a good job of combining multiple plot strands into a tantalizing mystery. Annie, Max, and Laurel (Max's eccentric mother) are all appealing characters in the cozy mold, and there is an entire village of amiable supporting players. The presence of Rachel, Annie's teenage sister, makes possible a side trip into the world of high-school angst. Throughout, Hart includes a wealth of mystery genre trivia that will appeal to the cozy crowd. Perfect for Murder, She Wrote fans. --John Rowen

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Hart's 13th winning outing (after 2000's Sugar Plum Dead) to feature Annie Darling, the owner of Death on Demand Bookstore, "the best mystery bookstore east of Atlanta," has planned the signing to end all signings for a local writer on their South Carolina island. But someone produces fake copies of publicity flyers for the signing and sets a cat among the pigeons to solve some old crimes and settle some old scores. Annie and her charming husband, Max, hasten to salvage the shop's event and Annie's reputation. Their efforts to resolve the mystery of the bogus flyers bring to light clues to several unsolved crimes. A high school teacher subsequently turns up dead. Was the murder committed to keep old secrets buried, or is a new onslaught of crime just beginning? A serpentine plot includes plenty of red herrings to lead the armchair sleuth firmly in the wrong direction. The descriptions of wildlife add to the sense of place, but neither advance the story nor illuminate the characters. Established readers will relish the usual banter between the couple that evokes classic screwball comedy, though at times the author can be overly formulaic. Max is always "sexy as hell." "Hell" and "damn" are about as strong as the language gets, by the way. If cats play only a minor role here, their presence on the jacket will help lure those cozy fans not already familiar with this consistently fine series. 5-city author tour. (Apr. 1) FYI: Hart is also the author of Resort to Murder (Forecasts, Mar. 12, 2001) and other titles in the Henrie O series. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



April Fool Dead A Death on Demand Mystery Chapter One The early-morning sun slanted through the pines, throwing huge shadows across the dusty gray road. Bob Tower's face was flushed, his heartbeat elevated. He was suffused with runner's euphoria, his arms swinging easily, his stride long, his shoes thudding rhythmically on the soft dirt. He smiled, at peace with the world. When his run was over, Jessie waited for him, eager and loving. The kids would be off to school. God, what a wonderful-- He was thinking of Jessie, already loving Jessie in his mind, when the Jeep careened around the curve. Suddenly the roar of the motor was upon him, louder and louder and louder, enveloping him. His head jerked. For an instant, he looked into the eyes of the driver. Pain was sudden and absolute, overwhelming, unendurable. Crumpled in the ditch, too hurt to moan, eyes clouding, throat closing, the last thing Bob heard was the dwindling of sound as the Jeep raced away. Tulips bloomed in red glory in a circular bed in front of the high school. Teresa Caldwell was chair of the moms' committee that had planted the flowers, kept the weeds pulled. She'd been presented a plaque at the recent Mothers-Daughters Banquet: "To Teresa Caldwell, Who Always Puts Her Family First." Teresa bit her lip. Why had she looked at the damn flowers? She didn't want to think, didn't want... "Mom! Stop. We're here." Lily's voice sullen. Teresa was accustomed to Lily's exasperated tone when confronted with what she judged to be yet another example of parental stupidity. Teresa had struggled with irritation at being viewed as only marginally competent. But oh, how she wished Lily would say, "Oh, Mom!" and flip her ponytail in mock disgust. Instead Lily, avoiding her mother's quick glance, yanked open the door of the Range Rover and lurched onto the sidewalk, a slightly built girl with frizzy brown hair and uncertain blue eyes, burdened by a backpack big enough to carry provisions for a jaunt to the Himalayas. Teresa opened her mouth, closed it. Lily wouldn't listen. She wouldn't listen about the weight of the backpack and Teresa could not bear to ask Lily why she was cold and withdrawn. Without a word of farewell, Lily moved slowly up the sidewalk, tilting to the left from the burden of the pack. Her head was down, her gait plodding. Teresa stared after her daughter and then, at the sound of an impatient horn, pulled out from the curb. She drove sedately around the curving drive, her lips stretched into a determined smile, nodding, waving. She knew what other mothers saw: a superbly groomed, Lesley Stahl-pretty suburban mother ina bright blue Range Rover with momscar plates. They couldn't see, would never see, must never know about the fever that raged within, the fever that might yet cost her everything. No one knew, of course. But Lily had looked at her oddly in recent weeks. What if someone had told Lily about the Range Rover parked on that dirt road? What if Lily had overheard one of those late-night calls? Oh, God, would Lily tell anyone? Would Lily tell her father? Teresa drove automatically, slowing as she reached Sand Dollar Road. All right, she'd turn left. Go home. Clean out the garage. Bake brownies, Ralph's favorite dessert. He was getting in tonight on a flight from New York. He'd had a hard week. When they talked last night, after Lily was in bed, she'd heard the weariness, even a touch of fear, in his voice. The corporate world was always uncertain, and never more so than now. He loved brownies, a nice way to welcome him home. The car eased to a stop. Her hands clenched on the wheel. She heard the rumble of an SUV behind her. She checked the mirror. Cherry Sue Richards. She had to make up her mind. Now. This instant. If she turned right, if she drove a mile and a half, turned onto a rutted gray road that jolted the car, streaked the gleaming blue paint with so much dust that Ralph kidded her, asked whether she'd been plowing the fields, if she drove as fast as she dared up that narrow road to the cabin nestled among a grove of willows, Paul would be waiting. She knew how he would look'thick, curly black hair, dark eyes, sensuous lips. He'd probably not shaved yet, he'd be bare-chested, his old, paper-thin Levi's hung on slim hips. Paul. Damn him. As the SUV stopped behind her, Teresa gunned the motor, turned to the right, the fever raging within her. Frank Saulter moved stiffly in the mornings. He welcomed the late-March sun, a cheerful precursor to spring. Only a few more days and it would be April. In summer the heat from the Low Country sun rolled against his skin hot as oil and just as soothing; yet he loved the crisp sunny days of spring. He smiled. He might be stiff, but arthritis never kept a man from fishing. He had his day planned. The lagoon off Belted Kingfisher Road was full of crappie, bass and bream, and he was just the man to land himself a mess of good eating. He took his time as he walked down the crushed-oyster-shell walk to the mailbox by the side of the road. He didn't expect anything much. Too late in the month for bills. Maybe a note from his daughter, but Sue liked e-mail better than writing letters and every week sent a cheerful message catching him up on the kids: Megan off at school in Australia, if that didn't beat the band; and Tom, who'd decided hanggliding off mountains in Montana had a lot more pizzazz than college. Frank shook his head as he pulled open the mailbox. Kids today... He grabbed... April Fool 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 April Fool Dead by Carolyn G. Hart 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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