Dead Days of Summer is actually the 17th book in the Death on Demand series. Annie Darling runs a mystery book shop called Death on Demand, and apparently gets involved in mysteries time and time again. In this particular book, her husband Max is framed for the murder of a beautiful young woman, Vanessa. Annie and her friends must find the real killer before Max is convicted and put away for the rest of his life.
I’m not really a mystery kind of girl, so I couldn’t tell you if this book is good or not per all the rules of a mystery novel. I can only give you my outsider’s point of view. I liked this okay. There were some formulaic writing things that really irritated me (like describing Vanessa as having a “cat-in-the-cream smile” which is just cringingly bad), but I certainly got drawn into the plot. I never really guessed the killer, because I expected it to be someone other than the three obvious suspects – they were too obvious, I thought. However, the fact that Hart let the killer be one of the obvious suspects was sort of nice. Realistic. In real life, the killer would be one of the obvious suspects. And it was certainly unexpected for me for the killer to NOT be some obscure character half-mentioned earlier in the plot.
Everything also wrapped up nicely, except I’m still confused on one point. Don’t worry; no spoilers. I just don’t understand why Max was ever involved at all. I mean, I know the killer needed someone to frame, but how in the world did he convince Vanessa to do what she did to Max to get him in the right place? It makes no sense. There’s no way she could believe she was going to get what she wanted from the killer by plotting to bring some random, unrelated guy to a bar and drug him. It has nothing to do with anything. There was never any connection to Max at all. I’m still trying to figure that out. Either Vanessa was really idiotic, or I missed a serious plot point somewhere. I wouldn’t discount that second suggestion, though – I don’t know what I’m supposed to be looking for when reading a mystery.
So this was fun. I’m definitely not going to take up reading mysteries in general, but I enjoyed my light break. Next time I think I’ll read a less genre-like mystery. Maybe the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency. I have that on my shelf and it’s supposed to transcend its genre. I’ve heard it’s excellent.