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Laughed 'Til He Died: A Death on Demand Mystery    by Carolyn Hart order for
Laughed 'Til He Died
by Carolyn Hart
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Carolyn Hart's twentieth installment of her Death on Demand series is now available, much to the delight of her many fans of which, I am one. She has been writing this series for twenty-five years, bringing Broward's Rock Island, South Carolina and its residents to her readers.

Annie Darling runs the Death on Demand bookstore while her handsome husband Max has his own investigative business. When a young boy's body is found - and it appears to everyone to be an accidental death - Annie does not agree.

An island teen center's director's job is threatened by Booth Wagner, a very wealthy resident of Broward's Rock Island who is accustomed to buying his own way whenever he wishes. He is determined to fire the director but the question becomes moot when Booth is shot to death at a fair at the center.

As always, Hart's plot weaves its way around the characters on the island. And characters they are! There's a mystery writer who feels her deductive powers on paper should work just as well in real life. Annie's mother-in-law Laurel is an aging femme fatale. Annie and Max are the most level-headed of the bunch. But they are so much in love, their feet don't always touch the ground. At any rate, Annie gets very involved in trying to solve the crime too involved.

Hart's descriptive powers are as much a delight in her books as are the mysteries. The reader can almost smell the ocean surrounding the island and see the lovely colors of the wild flowers, and hear the rustling in the undergrowth in the woods - and be as startled as Annie when she meets an alligator in those woods.

Where Hart finds the time to write so many wonderful books boggles the mind. She also writes the Henrie O and the Bailey Ruth series. Hart contends that her characters start out as strangers until she learn their stories. Then, as all the stories come together, another book is born. Celebrate with Carolyn Hart and enjoy her latest.

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