A Deadly Cliché by Ellery Adams is the second book in the “Books by The Bay” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), March 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 prick 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 tableaus: 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.

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.

Olivia finds a dead body. Someone is burglarizing homes leaving odd clues and Olivia and the book writer’s group wonder if these incidents are connected. Meanwhile Olivia’s personal life is being challenged from all fronts as these events surround her. This was an emotionally-filled and well-written story that I couldn’t put down. This was a different read because it wasn’t focus on the murder/burglaries, but rather focused on the mystery of the murder/burglaries and that kept me turning the pages. The more Olivia and Laurel investigated, the more the pieces fit together and what a surprising twist to discover who the perpetrator was.

It was good seeing Olivia treasure the life she has with the friends she has embraced, from Laurel who wants to be a writer, to Harris the computer geek, to Millay the woman who has yet to sprout, to Dixie the brash and funny diner owner and mostly to Rawlings who seems to know who she is and perhaps knows what she needs. The author gave us a ride that was both riveting and heartwarming as Olivia got the closure and some answers that she was looking for. I can’t wait to read the next book in this charming series.

Ellery Adams is the pseudonym of Jennifer (J.B.) Stanley.

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book

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