Friday, November 5, 2021

Book Review: Honeymoon with Murder by Carolyn Hart (Death on Demand #4)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Annie, Max, good mystery
Cons: Mystery name dropping; language
The Bottom Line:
Phone call in the night
Leads to trip cancellation
Fast paced mystery

Annie and Max’s Marriage Gets Off to a Murderous Start

Usually, when a wedding is involved in a cozy mystery novel, it comes at the end of the book, and the main character has to solve a murder before she can walk down the aisle.  However, that’s not the case for Annie Laurance and Max Darling in Honeymoon with Murder, the fourth Death on Demand mystery from Carolyn Hart.

Annie and Max’s wedding turned out beautifully, despite Max’s mother’s attempts to hijack the ceremony.  Their plans to leave the next morning on their honeymoon are sidetracked, however, when they get a panicked midnight call from Ingrid Jones, Annie’s employee, friend, and matron of honor.  Ingrid is cut off before they can get much out of her, so they race over to Ingrid’s cottage, where they find a dead body in the middle of her living room but no sign of the woman herself.

The victim is Jesse Penrick, one of the residents of the cottages that Ingrid manages.  The police think that Ingrid killed Jesse and ran away, but Annie fears that Ingrid has been kidnapped by the killer.  While Max leads the search for Ingrid, Annie tries to find the real killer.  Will they be able to find Ingrid and the killer before something horrible happens to Ingrid?

One thing that really impressed me in this book was Max.  Naturally, Annie is all in on trying to find Ingrid, but Max strikes me as a character who can be pretty self-centered.  Yet, in this book, he never once complains about their honeymoon getting derailed.  Oh, in some of the scenes from his point of view, we hear his frustration with the circumstances, but it is always frustration with the circumstances, never with Annie and her determination to help her friend.  And he throws himself whole heartedly into helping.  Okay, so he loves Annie and wants her happy, so maybe it isn’t as far outside of his character as I was thinking, but I appreciated how little whining he did.

Since Annie and Max are still on the island, we see several familiar faces over the course of the book, and I enjoyed them.  The characters can be a little broad at times, but I feel like that is on purpose since those characters provide some comic relief.  The suspects are strong and do a good job of being distinct and keeping us guessing.

The mystery itself is strong.  While the beginning of the book does give us a glimpse of Max and Annie’s wedding day, we have enough hints that something bad is brewing that it doesn’t feel like a slow prologue.  And we aren’t that far into the book when Ingrid makes that fateful phone call that sets things off.  From there, we get an interesting trail of clues and events that lead us to the logical climax.

My usual complaints hold true here.  Yes, I get that the series is known for its shameless name dropping of mystery titles and authors.  However, at times, it seems gratuitous as we are just getting a list of titles and authors.  Also, there is more foul language that we need in the book.  While the first one is annoying, the language really bothers me and could be toned down.

Thanks to my local library, I once again listened to the audio book.  Kate Reading does a great job bringing the story to life for us.

All told, I did enjoy Honeymoon with Murder.  I’m curious to see where murder and mayhem take Annie and Max next.

Enjoy the rest of the Death on Demand series.

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