I'll be posting my Fourth of July Crime Fiction List later today or tomorrow, but in the meantime, I asked award winning mystery author Carolyn Hart to tell us about her new mystery Dead, White, and Blue. It's the perfect read for the holiday!
Hart writes the Death on Demand series set in a mystery bookstore on a South Carolina sea island and the Bailey Ruth Raeburn series featuring a lively redheaded ghost. She is also the author of several WWII novels, including ESCAPE FROM PARIS which is now available from Seventh Street Books.Letter from Home, a WWII novel set on the home front, received the Agatha Award for Best Mystery of 2003. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. Hart has been nominated 9 times for the Agatha Award for Best Novel and has won 3 times. In 2007 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at Malice Domestic.
CAROLYN HART: DEAD, WHITE, AND BLUE
I loved writing Dead, White, and Blue because I tried something different. This is the 23rd book in the Death on Demand series, and I wanted to offer readers a different kind of puzzle. Instead of beginning with murder, we have a disappearance. The brash, sexy second wife of a very rich man walks into the pines as fireworks explode above the country club on the Fourth of July. She doesn’t go home. No one knows where she is or whether she is living or dead.
The husband doesn’t look for her. The only person who cares is a troubled teenage step-daughter who comes to Max Darling and asks him to find Shell Hurst the week after the Fourth.
Max, of course, can’t take a young girl’s money and this is obviously a family affair. He declines to get involved though he is upset when she runs from his office in tears.
Annie Darling insists no one can simply disappear into thin air and not be seen again. .
Max reminds her of Judge Crater and Jimmy Hoffa.
Annie decides to find out more about what happened the night of the Fourth. Who was Shell Hurst? Who loved her or hated her? Would she leave the island with a word to anyone? Was she the kind of woman to sail away on a rich man’s yacht?
Annie and Max were at the 4th of July country dance where Shell Hurst made a dramatic entrance - and exit. She taunted her husband, blew off a man who was infatuated with her, insisted on dancing with another woman’s husband who obviously wanted to disappear from view.
A waiter from the country club disappears.
Annie and Max follow a twisting tale of deceit, adultery, panic, and despair and ultimately only they can save an appealing teenage golf whiz from a murder charge.
Max’s mother, mystery expert Henny Brawley, and crusty mystery author Emma Clyde aren’t on the island but they follow Annie and Max’s progress and send challenging texts: WTB? (Where’s the body?)
My favorite part of the book was the deception involved in the trenching of two golf course holes by a stolen classic MG found wrecked on a bridge across a lagoon.
I hope readers are intrigued by DEAD, WHITE, AND BLUE and find it a twisty, unusual story as they celebrate the Fourth, picturing Shell Hurst striding triumphantly toward the pines as fireworks explode in the sky.