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by Carolyn Hart
William Morrow, April 2006
288 pages
ISBN: 0060724021

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

It's hard to believe that this is the 17th book in the Annie Darling series. In the earlier books, the attraction as far as I was concerned was the bookstore. I was fascinated with the store, even though I realized it was romanticized and hardly real, no matter how charming the owner and her eclectic circle of friends. The bookstore is sorely missed in this book.

While Annie and her slightly ditzy mother-in-law are planning a big birthday bash for Max, Annie's husband, Max disappears. All Annie knew was that he had a new client he was meeting at his office and he told her he would be late getting home. When his client's body is discovered and Max turns up bloodied and claiming amnesia, even their friendly acting chief of police can't overlook Max as a suspect. While Max is in jail, Annie and Laurel and their friends go to work.

The Low Country setting of Broward's Rock is delightful and definitely the place we all would want to spend our summer vacation. The fact that Annie and her friends actually live there is an always pleasing aspect of the books. Although Annie is not a Southerner by birth, she has adapted to the charming ways of the sleepy little community, which bustles with summer visitors. It is definitely part of the attraction of these books.

The friends, especially Emma, the mystery writer, are actively engaged in Annie's campaign to find the truth. If the CIA had their intelligence network, they would have found Osama years ago. On the whole, the books are cozy, easy reading rather like a visit with old friends. Even if sometimes we wish they wouldn't do nutty things or take crazy chances, we still enjoy their exploits. I think that Annie's many fans will be pleased.

Reviewed by Lorraine Gelly, December 2005

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