Max and Annie Darling leave the comfort of Broward’s Rock Island in Carolyn G. Hart’s Death of the Party to visit the isolated Golden Silk Island at the request of Britt Barlow. A year earlier she discovered her brother-in-law, Jeremiah Addison, at the bottom of the house stairs, murdered by a wire strung across the marble staircase. To spare her sister, who was dying of cancer, the pain of a murder investigation, Britt removed the evidence of the crime. But now that Britt has inherited Golden Silk Island from her sister, she has received what was clearly intended to be a blackmail letter by the journalist Everett Crenshaw, who witnessed Britt remove the wire and assumed she had committed the crime. So Britt has decided to solve the murder by cajoling all dozen people who were on the island at the time of the murder to attend a reunion during which time she will announce the fact of Jeremiah’s murder and amazingly discover the culprit. With no way off the island or access to the outside world, this weekend promises plenty of drama.
This book is your classic book of people trapped with a murdering lunatic in their midst. With all the people save the Darlings having strong evidence against them, I was rather eerily reminded of Agatha Christie’s famous And Then There Were None. Guests include the two sons of the murdered man, both deeply offended by his refusal to aid their mother, his first wife, despite being a very wealthy man, when she had a severe accident that required expensive medical care. Another guest is the ostensible blackmailer, an investigative reporter, who has compiled a list of damning facts against each person there and makes it clear that he intends to use them if he doesn’t get satisfaction. The list goes on, with each guest under strong suspicion of committing this murder.
Death of the Party is a darker book than the other ones in the Death on Demand series, certainly not feeling like a cozy mystery. It has a strong plot, but I missed getting to see the other major characters of the series besides Annie and Max. These have endeared themselves to us readers, so I was disappointed not to get to see Hennie, Laurel, and Rachel in particular.
Kate Reading continues as the narrator of this series and does a very enjoyable job. As I’ve stated before, Reading is my favorite American woman narrator, and she delivers as always.
This book gave me an enjoyable time listening to it. Unlike some of the other books in the series, where the reader might feel a little bit lost in meeting some characters for the first time, this book requires no background knowledge. I really liked the book, but I did feel disappointment in the absence of other really likable characters. Thus I award the book four stars.
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