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Yankee Doodle Dead: A Death on Demand Mystery    by Carolyn Hart order for
Yankee Doodle Dead
by Carolyn Hart
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 1999 (1998)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Whenever I read a mystery by Carolyn Hart, I am astounded by her vast knowledge of mystery authors and their works. Not only is she conversant with titles, but also with protagonists and their identifying characteristics. She deftly inserts tidbits from this mental library into her text to enhance her own mysteries.

Annie Darling, possessing a set of good work ethics, is proprietor of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore. Her handsome husband Max Darling has less than sterling work ethics but is forgiven, for he has other fine, exciting qualities. The action in Yankee Doodle Dead swirls in and around the island of Broward's Rock off the coast of South Carolina.

Annie is on the library board of this tiny community of 1600 residents. Their world was a good place until retired Brigadier General Charlton (Bud) Hatch took up residence and proceeded to spoil the tranquility of almost everyone who lived or worked on the island. Demanding that everything he touched be turned into a military exercise, Hatch was not popular, so there are a plethora of suspects when he is shot in the heart at a Fourth of July Fair.

This is where Hart excels as she lays out the back history of each suspect and works slowly forward until the only reasonable conclusion is revealed. I missed it by a long shot (no pun intended) and envy the author's plotting. Yankee Doodle Dead is a very good read.

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