I had never read any of Ellery Adams' mysteries when I tried the second Books by the Bay mystery, A Deadly Cliché. Anyone who thinks of cozy mysteries with dogs on the front as light and fluffy needs to read this book. Adams' latest mystery features well-developed, deep characters investigating a case just as complex as in any other crime novel.
Olivia Limoges has a strong connection to the sea. The sea may have taken her father when she was a child, but she's received numerous gifts from the ocean. She loves her solitary life in Oyster Bay, North Carolina, but she has the money to help build the town. She owns a five-star restaurant, has plans to open a second one, and owns half the town. And, her solitary life has changed just recently with her attendance at a writers' group.
She's quite glad she made friends with that group and particularly Police Chief Rawlings, a complex man who not only runs a tight ship at the police department, but is also a widower who paints and is trying to write. Because of that friendship, Rawlings is willing to talk to Olivia and the group when Olivia and her dog, Captain Haviland, find a body on the beach.
With that body, it's evident the little community is facing a crime wave. Houses have been broken into, and the police are working to find a connection between the victims. When a man is killed during a burglary, the entire community is worried. But, they'll have to put their worries aside to deal with a hurricane headed directly toward the island.
Olivia Limoges is a wonderful woman who spent years working to be independent and strong. But, the sea may have one more gift for the woman, a story about her lost father. It's the depth of backstory for Olivia and the other characters that brings an unexpected strength to this book. And, fortunately for future storylines, Olivia is not the only interesting character in this mystery. There are possibilities for a future relationship with Chief Rawlings. The other writing group members are intriguing. And, Olivia has the most interesting friendship with Dixie Weaver, a roller-skating dwarf, manager and head waitress at Grumpy's where her husband is the chef.
Pick up Ellery Adams' A Deadly Cliché for the intriguing mystery and lovely setting. But, I predict you'll be waiting for more books in this series because Adams' story has mature, well-rounded characters with great potential for future mysteries.
Ellery Adams' website is www.elleryadamsmysteries.com
A Deadly Cliché by Ellery Adams. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2011. ISBN 9780425240236 (paperback), 296p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book in hopes I would review it.