After nearly being sent to prison for murder in Dead Days of Summer, Max Darling is afraid to take on new cases. He refuses to take a call from a distraught young woman, with disastrous consequences. In Carolyn G. Hart’s 18th Death on Demand novel, Death Walked In. Gwen Jamison has called Max’s office, Confidential Commissions, for help, but he rushes out to work on restoring the derelict antebellum mansion he and Annie are refurbishing. Thus, it is Annie who gets the message that Gwen had hidden something in their new home, the Franklin House. She has been unable to retrieve it and fears trouble. Rushing to the woman’s side, Annie arrives just in time to find Gwen dying of a gunshot wound.
With a little research, they come to suspect that Gwen had hidden some valuable coins –Double Eagles stolen from her rich neighbor– in their house while trying to convince the thief to return the coins. Where could the coins be hidden? When the police arrest Gwen’s son, Max gets drawn into the investigation despite his efforts to stay out.
The previous book was highly intense and seemed to set a new mood for the series. This book contains a degree of the intensity of the former but less desperation, a balance I appreciated; it moves with purpose and drive.
The earlier books in the series fit well into the subgenre of cozy mystery, which does not use the gore and strong language of harder core mysteries. The rules especially prohibit explicit sex. In a description from E.J. Copperman’s Written Off , you can kill off anyone you want but the cat, but absolutely no schlepping! While the series still fits within these guidelines, they seem less cozy than before. I have heard that Hart prefers her works to be considered traditional mysteries rather than cozies, and this is where the shift from cozy to traditional seems to take place. The language, gore, and sex remain inexplicit, but the intensity of the books ramps up, and it really seems to work!
The book is narrated by Kate Reading, who has performed the other books in the series. She does an effective job of bringing the book to life and makes it especially enjoyable.
Death Walked In is a very good book that made me eager to invest in the next one. Stay tuned for the review of that one soon! I give this book five stars!
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