Review: Dead Days of Summer by Carolyn Hart

Title: Dead Days of Summer (the 17th Death on Demand mystery)

Author: Carolyn Hart

Publisher: William Morrow [2006]

ISBN: 0-06-072402-1

Length: 280 pages

Setting: America (South Carolina), present day

Genre: Cosy/amateur sleuth

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

My rating: 3/5

One-liner: Nicely-paced yarn about an innocent man’s arrest with a guaranteed happy ending

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Proprietor of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore Annie Darling is preoccupied with a secret: the surprise party she is planning her husband Max’s 29th birthday. Max is killing time at his office one afternoon when a new client walks in asking for his assistance in locating her missing brother. Max agrees to go with her to a seedy bar which is the last place the brother was seen but after doing so he wakes up in a strange cottage with no memory of the previous night’s events. The woman, who he was seen with my several witnesses, has been found dead and Max is covered in her blood. When he is arrested things look bleak but Annie and their circle of friends soon rally around to clear his name.

I’ve read quite a lot of the books in this series, the last being Death of the Party which I read last year and did not enjoy very much. However I needed something light that I could read while distracted* and picked this one from the bottom of my large TBR. Happily it turned out to be a much better read than the last book in the series. The romance element is still present but it was held in check this time round because Annie and Max spent most of the book separated from each other so there was a limit to the schmaltzy dialogue between the pair. I don’t mind seeing a couple in love but sometimes the way these two talk is a bit much.

The story kept up a good pace too and I am a bit of a sucker for a wronged-man yarn. I live in mortal fear of going to prison for something I didn’t do (for some people it’s heights for me it’s being locked up) and am always inclined to an emotional interest in stories that involve this kind of scenario. Max’s feelings of helplessness while incarcerated (even if only for a few days) were quite well depicted. The rallying of Max and Annie’s friends is charming but unrealistic and the resolution is quite predictable but if you’re in the mood for a well-paced and upbeat story you could do a lot worse than Dead Days of Summer.

*I had to spend a day in a series of noisy medical waiting rooms as I took my turn looking after an old family friend who has a lot of ailments and some books require less concentration than others.

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4 Responses to Review: Dead Days of Summer by Carolyn Hart

  1. Karen says:

    He’s only 29!!! How old was he when they met? I’ve read a couple of these but not for a long time.

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  2. Beth F says:

    I read the first 5 or 6 in the series but for some reason I haven’t gone back to them. They are really very light, aren’t they. And like Karen says, he’s only 29 in the 17th book?? That is really hard to believe unless there has been a murder a week since they met!

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  3. Dorte H says:

    I want something light right now as I have a slight headache; not sure it has to be as light as this one though.

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  4. bernadetteinoz says:

    Karen & Beth I had forgotten my shock at that age too. I had these two pegged at late 30’s/early 40’s until this book. Given they live on an island and there’s a murder every time they turn around I am stunned there is anyone left.

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