The second book in the Books by the Bay Mystery series, published March 1, 2011.
While walking her poodle, Olivia Limoges discovers a dead body buried in the sand. Could it be connected to the bizarre burglaries plaguing Oyster Bay, North Carolina? The Bayside Book Writers pick up their ears and pick up their pens to get the story…
The thieves have a distinct MO. At every crime scene, they set up odd tableus: a stick of butter with a knife through it, dolls with silver spoons in their mouths, a deck of cards with a missing queen. Olivia realizes each setup represents a cliché. And who better to decode the cliché clues than her Bayside Book Writers group, especially since their newest member is Police Chief Rawlings? As the investigation proceeds, Olivia is surprised to find herself falling for the widowed policeman. But an even greater surprise is in store. Her father – lost at sea thirty years ago – may still be alive…
Another great mystery by Ellery Adams. One I did not figure out in advance either, Olivia took me with her on her search for answers and clues. Even though the mystery was very well written and captivating, it were the characters and what happened in their lives that kept pulling me back into the book. Which is one of the biggest compliments I can give an author, as I usually read for the story itself. The blurb of the book tells the highlights. Not only has Olivia to deal with a mystery or two, but also her past when she gets a note that could be a blackmail note, and perhaps a love interest. And she gets interested in a new project, an old dilapidated warehouse in the marina. With a lot of hard work and a lot of money, it could become a great restaurant. Which means work for her contractor and his people, the architect she hires, and of course the staff when it is finished.
I had no trouble at all with remembering all the characters in this second book of the series, even though it has been a while since I read the first book. I have to admit, Olivia was a lot more likeable in this one, really caring for her new friends and employees. But of course, she still uses money to bribe her way through life. Her big poodle, Captain Haviland, is an exemplary and utterly spoiled dog, and a great secondary character.
I really admire Olivia; she is unlike any other heroine I have so far read about. She is completely self reliant. Of course, she is extremely rich and can do whatever she pleases, which is a great help. But she does not want a relationship with a man in the true sense of the word, and engages in a casual one, like friends with benefits. She is not ashamed for that either, they enjoy each other, and that is it. I really like that, it is refreshing.
She is also totally unprepared for the feelings she is developing for the Chief of Police, and it appears to be mutual. It was fun to see her figure things out, and thinking it through. Olivia is not light hearted, she did not have an easy childhood, and had to deal with loss and grief early on. She is down to earth, and really direct. Which is another way of saying she has no people skills. But she genuinely cares, and learns how to deal with that.
And then there is Laurel, also a member of the Writing Group. She is a wife and mother of twin sons, and sure has her hands full. But she wants to be more than that, she wants to be an author, and to make a start, she wants to be a journalist. Both her husband (who sounds like real jerk) and his parents scoff at that, and won’t help her. But with Olivia behind her, she starts out on her self chosen path, and deals with it. And even though there are setbacks, in the end she perseveres and does what she wants to do with her life. And I do so admire that! You don’t have to be the Mom of, the Wife of, and nothing more. There is still room to be just yourself. So go for it!
I really really loved the description of the hurricane Oyster Bay had to survive. It was a very exciting, edge of my seat thing. The days of expectation before, will it grow worse? will it come? and then the actual hurricane hitting the village. And afterwards, the cleanup, the debris, the power outage and how everything was handled by the locals. The only thing a bit troubling was the name of the hurricane: Ophelia. It really is too close to the name of the heroine, and especially after a break, a bit disorientating.
I think the message in this book is a great one: don’t tease or bully other children, it might come back to bit you in the ass, bigtime!
A good cozy mystery series, I can heartily recommend to any fan of the genre.