CAROLYN G. HART – Something Wicked. Annie Laurence #3. Bantam, paperback original; 1st printing, June 1988.

   Someone is sabotaging the summer season! One of the reasons mysteries with theatrical settings are so successful is that when all of the suspects are actors, what better way for the true killer to hide himself (or herself) among them? The play in this case is Arsenic and Old Lace; the scene, Broward’s Rock, located on an island off the South Carolina shore.

   And Broward’s Rock is also the home of Death on Demand, Annie Laurence’s specialized mystery book shop, in case you missed the first two in the series. The puzzle is in theory a good one, but it’s seriously undermined by a ridiculous figure of a circuit solicitor, and impossibly stupid police procedure.

   To explain: The pigheaded Brice Posey despises the idle rich, and what better target to pin the murder on than Max Darling, Annie’s idle rich fiancé? While Max is detached, bemused, and ultimately rather tiresome, the frame is an obvious one to anyone with an ounce of brain matter, but Posey is having none of ot.

   As far as police procedure is concerned, Annie takes it upon herself to investigate the victim’s boat, finds all sorts of evidence about the plot he was hatching, “anonymously” tips off the police chief, who hasn’t been investigating the boat himself and can’t even then because Posey won’t issue a search warrant.

   It all works out, however, because in the meantime the killer makes an attempt to clear away the evidence, and any killer as sharp as this one is supposed to be would never have left the evidence lying around like this to be found in the first place.

–Reprinted from Mystery*File #13, June 1989 (mildly revised).

      The Death On Demand series –

1. Death on Demand (1987)
2. Design for Murder (1988)
3. Something Wicked (1988)
4. Honeymoon With Murder (1988)
5. A Little Class on Murder (1989)
6. Deadly Valentine (1990)
7. The Christie Caper (1991)
8. Southern Ghost (1992)
9. Mint Julep Murder (1995)
10. Yankee Doodle Dead (1998)
11. White Elephant Dead (1999)
12. Sugarplum Dead (2000)
13. April Fool Dead (2002)
14. Engaged to Die (2003)
15. Murder Walks the Plank (2004)
16. Death of the Party (2005)
17. Dead Days of Summer (2006)
18. Death Walked in (2008)
19. Dare to Die (2009)
20. Laughed ’til He Died (2010)
21. Dead by Midnight (2011)
22. Death Comes Silently (2012)
23. Dead, White, and Blue (2013)
24. Death at the Door (2014)
25. Don’t Go Home (2015)
26. Walking on My Grave (2017)