Mint Julep Murder (Death on Demand Series #9)

Mint Julep Murder (Death on Demand Series #9)

by Carolyn G. Hart

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One of America's most beloved mystery writers, Carolyn G. Hart, the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award-winning author, returns to her original mystery
series that features Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand Bookstore, and her husband, Max, with Mint Julep Murder.

Normally, Annie Laurence Darling would be eagerly awaiting her trip to Head Island, where this year's Dixie Book Festival is being held. But this year Annie has agreed to be the author liaison to five authors honored with the much-coveted Dixie Book Festival Medallions, and she fears she is going to have her hands full juggling murderous egos. What Annie doesn't count on is the untimely death of ambitious Mint Julep Press publisher Kenneth Hazlitt. Hazlitt arrives at the Festival peddling a proposal for Song of the South, a trashy roman  clef that details the indiscretions of some famous Southern authors at a writers' conference--writers who more than resemble the Dixie Festival Medallion winners. When Hazlitt drops dead after drinking a hit of bourbon from his private stock, the evidence points to Annie--the fatal glass is imprinted with her fingerprints. As more and more evidence points her way, Annie and Max must act fast to catch a wily killer...before the police throw the book at Annie!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307569790
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/14/2009
Series: Death on Demand Series , #9
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 146,672
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty-five novels of mystery and suspense including the Bailey Ruth Ghost Novels and the Death on Demand Mysteries. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She has also been honored with the Amelia Award for significant contributions to the traditional mystery from Malice Domestic and was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City, where she enjoys mysteries, walking in the park, and cats. She and her husband, Phil, serve as staff—cat owners will understand—to brother and sister brown tabbies.

Read an Excerpt

The flurry of faxes began a week before the Dixie Book Festival. Sherry Felton's first fax was circumspect. Sherry was well aware of her bestselling author's temperament. She had a queasy feeling that she was damned if she did and damned if she didn't, but a long-distance outburst was infinitely to be preferred over a face-to-face explosion.

FAX 1 -
from: Sherry Felton
to: Leah Vixen Kirby

Dear Leah,
Biddy Maxwell tells me a Georgia publisher named Kenneth Hazlitt has approached her with an idea for a novel, a steamy sex-and-tell piece, all about some famous Southern writers and their indiscretions at a conference. He hinted to Biddy that it's a roman  clef. She's shopping the idea around.

Your latest sales figures are super. The paperback of Love's Lost Splendour is shipping like hotcakes.

See you at Hilton Head.


It came as no surprise to Sherry when her fax machine signaled incoming material.

FAX 2 -
from: Leah Kirby
to: Sherry Felton

Dear Sherry,

Kenneth Hazlitt is a mediocre publisher and he couldn't write a decent novel if somebody handed him a mouse with an IQ of 200-plus. He's a buffoon who loves Dracula, Frankenstein, and Little Orphan Annie with the Statler Brothers bellowing in the background. But who gives a damn about quality? How much sex and who are the main characters?

If I could get a spot on Oprah, Love's Lost Splendour would sell five times what it's doing now. I must talk to you about publicity. And whose idea was it to schedule my Festival signing at four o'clock? They've got to be kidding. I want nine a.m. And I mean it.

As ever,

Sherry read as the fax paper oozed out. Damn. It was too late to change autographing times. The conference program was already printed. Leah knew that, of course. But who expected the world's most famous author of Civil War novels to give a damn about minor facts like printed programs? Sherry debated calling the Festival programmer. Maybe they could put up a sign announcing a time change at the information booth. . . . Oh, hell, what a bother. She didn't reach for the phone. Instead, her eyes glinting with malice, she waited thirty minutes, then dispatched a reply. As always, she used her author's full name. One had to take pleasure where one found it.

FAX 3 -
from: Sherry Felton
to: Leah Vixen Kirby

Dear Leah,

The programmer regrets being unable to change your autographing time. The committee wants the most famous author available at four p.m. The local TV promises a crew, and they feed to CBS.

Lots of sex, according to Biddy. And the cast of characters includes the most famous author of Civil War novels; the author of the latest male romance novel Ó la Bridges and Love Story; the author of Southern sojourns of the soul; the author of good-old-boy diatribes against blacks, Jews, feminists, and women in general; and the world's bestselling mystery writer.

Oh, and congratulations upon your receiving a Medallion at the Festival. I'll be sure and attend the ceremony.


FAX 4 -
from: Leah Kirby
to: Alan Blake
Missy Sinclair
Jimmy Jay Crabtree
Emma Clyde

Dear Fellow Medallion Honorees,

FYI, Kenneth Hazlitt is shopping a proposal using thinly disguised (if disguised at all) characters patterned after all of us. Remember Wynnewood?

The sorry bastard.

Leah Kirby

FAX 5 -
from: Emma Clyde
to: Leah Kirby
Alan Blake
Melissa Sinclair
Jimmy Jay Crabtree

Dear Fellow Honorees,

I smell a Medallion-sized rat.

Best regards,

FAX 6 -
from: Errol Beatty, publicist
to: Leah Kirby
Emma Clyde

Dear Ms. Kirby and Ms. Clyde,

Mr. Crabtree is presently on a book tour. I will bring your faxes to his attention when I speak to him this evening.

Best wishes,
Errol Beatty

FAX 7 -
from: Alan Blake
to: Leah Kirby
Emma Clyde

Dear Leah and Emma:

Let's talk when we arrive at the Festival. They're putting me up at the


FAX 8 -
from: Melissa Sinclair
to:Leah Kirby
Emma Clyde


I'll call Kenneth.


FAX 9 -
from: Melissa Sinclair
to: Leah Kirby
Emma Clyde

Dear Leah, Emma,

The dolt's excited out of his mind. He says Barker, Dunwoody & Kell is interested. This is all on the basis of a three-page proposal. I can't believe this!

By the way, who picked us as Medallion winners? Does anybody know? Kenneth swears the Medallions have NO connection with his book. And the Republican National Committee is proposing Clinton for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am not a happy camper. Should we cancel?


On a separate sheet faxed solely to Leah Kirby, Missy appended the following:

P.S. The writer of Civil War novels is a redhead who always wears green--and there's a broad hint of sexual dalliance NOT with her spouse.

In her Belle Meade mansion in Nashville, Leah Kirby savagely crumpled the fax. She was a strikingly beautiful woman, tall and slender with hair as fiery as molten lava. Today's silk suit was a soft jade.

Footsteps sounded in the hallway.

Leah jammed the fax into her pocket as her husband, Carl, entered the room.

Carl Kirby was slender, sixty, with thinning gray hair. His face was pale and drawn, but when he saw Leah, his mouth curved into a cheerful smile.  "It looks good on the interview with People. They'll focus on you as the greatest living writer of tender love stories.'' His voice was full of pride. For Leah. Of Leah. "The People crew wants to follow us around for a week or two. Maybe right after the Festival. They want to get the flavor of our true-life love story.''

He stepped close, held out his arms.

Leah moved into his embrace, pressed against him.

The fax crackled in her pocket.

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