In Engaged to Die , the 14th book in the Death on Demand series by Carolyn G. Hart, the January night is perfect for the party to celebrate the engagement between Virginia Neville and Jake O’Neill, but when the time arrives for the big announcement, Jake is nowhere to be found. That is, until someone finds his body with his head bashed in on the beach. And Chloe Martin, Annie’s holiday assistant at her store, who has thought that Jake was dating her exclusively until she learns otherwise at the party, is seen running away from the place of the crime soon before the body is found.
The acting police chief immediately jumps to the conclusion that Chloe, as the spurned lover, is guilty, and he has no intention of entertaining the possibility of other suspects. The fact that Chloe has disappeared does not help matters despite growing evidence that the beach has been rife with visitors that night.
Engaged to Die is another in a string of fun novels by Carolyn G. Hart. I had felt that the books were losing momentum as they reached about ten in number, but the twelfth book (Sugarplum Dead) gave the series new life that continues with this book.
The characters of Annie and Max are fun to follow, especially as the acting police chief deputizes Max, but not Annie, for the investigation of the case, leaving Annie determined to use whatever means are at her disposal to clear Chloe’s name.
Hennie has by now dropped her habit of assuming the role of various fictional detectives, which I really miss. Having her pop in using the persona of a different detective each time was one of the most delightful parts of the books. Instead, Hennie now rattles off trivia questions to Annie to try to trap her into revealing some form of ignorance about mystery novels.
Peppered throughout the book, Laurel, Max’s spacey mother, makes quick appearances with cards of messages about friendship before disappearing again. Each book shows Laurel talking up a new fascination.
Engaged to Die does have its weak spots. The intense seminal emotionalism demonstrated by Annie on Chloe’s behalf gets tiresome at times. In addition, the solution became obvious to me not too long after the murder, and all the trails the characters explore, whether to convict Chloe or to free her, start to feel forced.
Kate Reading continues to provide her excellent narration of this series, adding to my overall enjoyment of it.
This fourteenth book in the Death on Demand series continues the recent trend of refreshing itself into a delightful read. I give this book 4 stars!
Engaged to Die by Carolyn Hart is available now in multiple formats. To order from Amazon, click the link in the title. You may also find it in your local library or bookstore.