Annie Laurance Darling is thrilled to be holding a book signing by Emma Clyde, the “Agatha Christie of America” and has designed a clever contest along with many other promotions for the signing in April Fool Dead, the 13th book in Carolyn G. Hart’s Death on Demand series. Imagine her consternation to discover that someone has imitated her contest flyers exactly, using them create a new contest that stirs up lots of trouble. As Annie, Max, Henny, and Emma each pursues a different angle of research on the bogus flyers, a local high school teacher is found murdered, sending Annie to the school for her research. There she is reminded of all the drama and emotion faced by teenagers, including her 15-year-old step-sister, Rachel, who has moved in with Annie and Max .
This book contains cross-currents and seemingly different types of Investigation. In addition to Max and Annie’s problems, there are thoseformer Police Chief Frank Salter: a man he had put in prison 20 years before has declared his intention of going after the man he blames for his problems. Laurel, Max’s usually spacey mother seems to be on a secret mission with a degree of lucidity never before seen in Laurel.
April Fool Dead contains a highly creative mystery plot, with twists and turns that make it interesting. The addition of Rachel and the high school students adds roundness to the plot and characters. I really appreciate the character of Rachel, who comes across as a very real teen, bouncing from excitement over being invited to the prom to depression over the mistreatment of the senior girls and on to leading a campaign first to vindicate a friend slandered in the fake flyers and later spearheading an effort to collect stories of the murdered teacher to put in an album for the teacher’s family.
One disappointment was the fact that the series seems to have dropped Henny’s habit of bursting into a room or phone call in the character of a fictional detective. I have missed that element of the books.
Kate Reading continues with her reading of the series, making the book enjoyable and delightful to listen to.
April Fool Dead gives a lot of pleasure to read and is a great follow-up to Sugarplum Dead, deserving five stars.
April Fool Dead is available in multiple formats. To order from Amazon, click the link in the title. You may also find it in your local bookstore or library.