Death Comes Silently by Carolyn Hart is the 22nd book in the “Death on Demand” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley (Penguin), April 2012

Winter has arrived in Broward’s Rock, South Carolina, and business has slowed for Annie Darling, owner of mystery bookstore Death on Demand. So when the island’s resident writer publishes the latest in her popular mystery series, Annie jumps at the chance to host a book signing, even though it conflicts with her shift at the local charity shop, Better Tomorrow.

Luckily, fellow volunteer Gretchen Burkholt agrees to sub for her. The signing goes well, but Gretchen interrupts the event multiple times, leaving voice mails about scandalous news she’s dying to share. Even though Gretchen tends to be excitable, Annie heads over to Better Tomorrow, where she finds Gretchen dead on the floor, an axe by her side.

Annie enlists the help of her husband, Max, to piece together a puzzle involving an overturned kayak, a stolen motorboat, a troubled love affair, and a reckless teenager. And she must tread carefully in her investigation, because a killer is on the loose, and that killer works well in the foggy days of winter…

What a great read. After repeated phone calls from a volunteer about being afraid, Annie goes over to the charity shop and discovers the volunteer’s body…murdered. An axe points to a suspect who declares his innocence. With Henny, Annie and Max on the case, there is no escape for this killer. The action started immediately in this well-scripted mystery that I could not put this book down. The mystery kept me guessing and on my toes as I navigated the clues and was caught unawares when the killer was identified. I love the comfortable tone, the small town atmosphere and the lovable yet eccentric cast of characters that are a delight with my annual visit to Broward Rock. I look forward to the next exciting adventures that awaits the Darlings and their friends in this charming and terrific series.

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