The ninth book in the Death on Demand series by Carolyn G. Hart, Mint Julep Murder, takes place at the Dixie Book Festival, a celebration of writers from the South, at the luxurious Hilton Head Island. Annie has volunteered to be the liaison between the festival and the five winners of the prestigious Dixie Book Festival Medallions, authors who write very different styles of books: two styles of mystery books, romance novels, Civil War fiction, and flaming redneck political commentary.
Before the festival even begins, Annie gets bombarded with messages from these authors about recent publicity over a book to be written by the publisher of Mint Julep Press, Kenneth Hazlitt, purportedly fiction but obviously about the scandals in the lives of the five Medallion winners. Hazlitt spitefully uses his connection to the Dixie Book Festival to gain attention and holds a cocktail party that he has advertised to everyone as honoring the Medallion winners, but these five, as well as Annie, become the chief suspects when Hazlitt dies of poisoning by pure nicotine in his personal bottle of bourbon.
Several of the endearing characters from the earlier books play significant roles. The Three Musketeers, complete with their motto of “All for one, and one for all,” mobilize to try to clear Annie and find the murderer. However, they are distracted by their aggressive pursuit of a publisher for each person’s draft of a book, Miss Dora with a cookbook of Southern recipes, Laurel with a mini book she has named Simplicity that gives short quotes on life, and Henny with another mini book of quotes from mystery books.
This book has an interesting plot, but the story got bogged down in the long and extensive recitations of the background checks of all the suspects, taking away some of the pleasure of the book.
Once again, Kate Reading narrates this installment of the Death on Demand series and does a fabulous job of keeping the reader attentive. She helped make the longer, tiring passages easier to follow.
In sum, Mint Julep Murder has plenty of excitement and interest, but the lengthy summations took away from some of my pleasure in listening to it. It stands at three and a half stars, the lowest so far in the series.