Ellery Adams threw me a curveball in the opening of her latest book, The Last Word. It doesn’t surprise me that her character, Olivia Limoges has retreated into her own world, but I didn’t expect it. And, I was disappointed in her when I learned that. However, as you continue to read Olivia’s story, it’s hard not to forgive her.
Olivia Limoges is one of the wealthiest women in Oyster Bay, North Carolina, owning two restaurants, and a number of other businesses in town. But, she had a tragic childhood, losing both of her parents. And, the events of the previous book in which she discovered her father, only to lose him again, threw her off kilter. She has retreated into herself, and was afraid to grow closer to Police Chief Rawlings, so she shuts him out.
However, Olivia still cares enough about her friends in the Bayside Book Writers’ critique group to check on the house Harris Williams hopes to buy. No one is more surprised than Olivia when Nick Plumley, a bestselling author, shows interest in the same house. She understands, though, when Harris uncovers a valuable painting. She’s just too late to show it to Plumley. He’s killed before she can discuss Harris’ treasure. And, Olivia is the one who discovers the body.
Nick Plumley’s award-winning novel was set in New Bern, North Carolina, and it was based on the past. Now, it seems as if the secretive man brought trouble with him to Oyster Bay. It isn’t long before Rawlings asks the writers’ group to do some research for him. Olivia, determined to protect the family she just reconnected with, is more than willing to help. And, her research into that painting’s history, and Plumley’s own mysterious past, might bring her closer to Rawlings again.
Ellery Adams brings us the best elements of mystery writing in The Last Word. The story involves a little known episode from history’s past. And, Adams breathes life into her characters. If I didn’t care so much about Olivia Limoges, I wouldn’t have been upset at her withdrawal from her friends. But, The Last Word is a book about family in so many ways. And, it’s family that will draw Olivia out of her shell.
The Last Word is a moving book. I found myself with tears in my eyes, which doesn’t happen often when reading mysteries. But, this book is not only a story of the secrets of the past. It’s a book with promises for the future.
Ellery Adams’ website is www.elleryadamsmysteries.com.
The Last Word by Ellery Adams. Berkley Prime Crime. ©2011. ISBN 9780425245002 (paperback), 312p.
FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.