Olivia Limoges has hired her half-brother and his wife to manage her newest restaurant in Oyster Bay, North Carolina. Opening day is just a few days away, last minute details are piling up, and the last thing she needs is to be drawn into a flap over a famous author moving to town. But drawn in she is when the author seems to be very interested in the house that friend and fellow Books by the Bay Writers group member Harris Williams is determined to buy.
At first it seems that bestselling author Nick Plumley is merely interested in the house and its history because of the new book he's writing. But when he turns up dead, Olivia has to think that there's more to his interest than meets the eye. And if Plumley was interested in the house, does that mean that new homeowner Harris is in danger with a killer on the loose?
Of all the cozy mystery series that I read, this is one of my very favorites. The character of Olivia Limoges just grabs me by the heart and takes off running. Aside from some superficial differences like money, looks, and age, I could almost believe that Olivia is based upon me because so many of our emotional reactions to people and things are the same. From Olivia's feeling like an outsider to her reaction to children to her judging people based on their reactions to her dog, I "get" this woman, and once I'm this emotionally involved in a book it's almost impossible for me not to devour it as quickly as possible.
Yes, the plot is an interesting one, and I loved the tie-in with the actual World War II prisoner of war camp in nearby New Bern. Adams' sense of misdirection was marvelous, and I was kept guessing clear through to the end. But as any connoisseur of cozies knows, it's not the plot that keeps us coming back for more, it's the cast of characters. The spirit of friendship and support that flows through Olivia and her writers group is wonderful, and although each member has flaws, none is from Central Casting. There's no requisite busybody, femme fatale, or bumbling police officer amongst them, and each character gets his or her moment to shine and to develop. What an absolute treat!
In the mood for a cozy that not only will keep you guessing but will give you several new fictional friends? I heartily recommend Ellery Adams' Books by the Bay series.
The Last Word by Ellery Adams
Berkley Prime Crime © 2011
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Cozy Mystery, #3 in the Books by the Bay series
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.