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    Review of MURDER WALKS THE PLANK by Carolyn Hart (see her website)


    William Morrow, March 2004

    It's a wonderful benefit and a great opportunity to sell some books so mystery bookstore owner Annie Darling is set to enjoy the evening mystery cruise--until one of the passengers goes overboard. The police rule it an accident but Annie knows better. The injured woman was afraid of heights and would never ignore a no admission sign. Annie thinks it is murder. When another woman is found dead of apparent suicide, Annie concludes that there is a connection and her friend, mystery writer Emma Clyde agrees--and proceeds to send Annie on missions everywhere on their island.

    Annie's once estranged father has fallen in love--with painful results for Annie's step-sister and the son of the woman Pudge loves. Between running her store, passion with her husband Max, and sorting out her family's problems, Annie doesn't really have time to solve a mystery, but Pamela was a nice woman--even if nobody really liked her--and Annie owes it to her to find out who pushed her, and who killed famous ex-model Meg Heath. Still, the obvious motives--money, revenge, hatred, just don't seem to apply.

    Author Carolyn Hart (see more reviews of novels by Hart) creates a light and charming mystery. Annie is constantly upbeat, bouyed by her rich husband Max, as she realizes that she slowly grows to understand that she has underestimated many people--including the victim, her father, and her father's love interest. Mystery fans will get a kick out of the frequent references to other mystery authors and novels, both contemporary and classic, that fill Hart's novel.

    I'm not convinced that the killer actually had a clear motive to push poor Pamela off the boat, which weakened my enjoyment of the story. Even so, Hart's story-telling ability kept me turning the pages. Annie is human enough that you just want to see her sort out both her mystery and her family problems.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 1/03/03

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