Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart

It's hard to believe that after thirty years Carolyn Hart is wrapping up the Death on Demand series. Walking on My Grave is the last case for Annie and Max Darling. But, the traditional mystery wraps up perfectly, first with the gathering of suspects, and then with the books behind the monthly watercolors at the bookstore.

Annie's in the midst of a project for "The Incredible Trio". Her mother-in-law, Laurel, Emma, the mystery author, and the island's civic volunteer, Henny, have compiled chapbooks, and Annie is editing them. But, she always has time for friends who are in trouble. Ves Roundtree is in the way of a group of people who all need money. She has control of the money from her late husband, but, when she dies, it will be distributed between a small group of people. When Ves suspects one of those people tried to kill her, she gathers them together for dinner. And, she warns them she can defend herself.

Ves isn't quite as confident when she tells Annie that she knows one of that crowd wants her dead. Is the artist who can no longer paint? Is it his wife? There's the bank clerk. One man can no longer afford his lifestyle. Gretchen wants the money for her son, but she feels threatened. There's the young woman and her boyfriend, hoping to marry soon. Then, one of Ves' dinner guests dies, and Ves herself disappears. Who is desperate enough to kill for money?

I'm going to miss Annie Darling and the Death on Demand bookshop. With this book, Hart ends the series on a strong note. I always respect the formula for Hart's books. Walking on My Grave is a perfect example. She's always given us intelligent, responsible police. And, Annie Darling works with the police, not against them. The gathering of suspects is at the request of the police chief. And, Carolyn Hart wraps up with a list of Classic Crime novels and authors. Carolyn Hart and the Death on Demand books should be right there on that list.

Thank you, Carolyn Hart, for Annie and Max, the Death on Demand bookshop, and Broward's Rock, South Carolina.

Carolyn Hart's website is

Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart. Berkley Prime Crime. 2017. ISBN 9780451488534 (hardcover), 246p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Grace Koshida said...

Lesa, I am also sad that the Death on Demand series is ending. But it is good to know that Walking on My Grave has ended it on a good note. I loved the tribute to other traditional mysteries with the reveal of the watercolours/ book titles at the end of each book.

Kay said...

I'll be sad to see the end of this series too. However, I did have the great privilege of meeting Carolyn Hart at your library in Glendale. What a treat! I was also sad to see the end of Margaret Maron's series with Deborah Knott and family. Ah well. Maron did a good job with the ending and I'm glad to hear that this one is strong too.

I got to meet some real heroes in my reading life at Malice. I talked for quite a while with Joan Hess and asked her a bit about Barbara Mertz/Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels. Told her I was touched that she completed that last Amelia Peabody book that the author had begun. Also met Eve Sandstrom/JoAnna Carl and Leslie Meier. Read all their books for many years.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I used to see all the authors mentioned (and sold some of them books!) when I sold books at Malice. An era is ending, sadly.

Lesa said...

You're right, Jeff. An era is ending. And, when Sue Grafton publishes Z, that will put a punctuation mark on it.

Grace & Kay, I've been so lucky to host Carolyn Hart, to meet Margaret Maron, to host Sue Grafton. I never met Elizabeth Peters. I did get to meet Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini. It's just hard to let go of authors you've admired for years.

Grace Koshida said...

Lesa: Yes, you have been very lucky to host and meet such great authors. I have seen the ones you mentioned (except for Elizabeth Peters) at various mystery conventions. I never would have thought Sue Grafton would be so funny...I have seen her being interviewed twice. And Louise Penny has been very openly candid about her writing journey too. Can't wait to see her again at Bouchercon in Toronto.

Sharon said...

Lesa, I enjoyed this last Max and Annie book as well. It seemed fitting to end it with the Incredible Trio as well as a shout out to Annie's longtime employee, Ingrid. The only thing missing was Barb and their dossiers on the suspects in the case. I agree with you that the best part of these books was Annie working with the police rather than against them like so many cozy mysteries. I will definitely miss my visits to Broward and Death on Demand.

Lesa said...


No one works a crowd like Sue Grafton or Louise Penny. I have seen both of them make friends of the entire audience, one at a time.

Lesa said...

I know, Sharon. That's one of the items that irritates me in so many mysteries - when the sleuth hides things from the police. Carolyn Hart writes an amateur sleuth who I admire.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Not everyone knows this, but Malice Domestic was started by fans of Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters. The first year was in Silver Springs and there were only two men registered (no, I wasn't one of them until the next year).

Lesa said...

I didn't know that, Jeff.