Restaurant owner and aspiring novelist Olivia Limoges is busy planning a delicious menu for Oyster Bay’s biggest soiree of the spring. But she’ll need to serve some justice as well after one resident gets eighty-sixed…
Everyone’s got their hands full in Oyster Bay, North Carolina. Aside from two upcoming weddings, there’s also the historical society’s annual fund-raiser: the Secret Garden Party and Candlelit Ball. Adding to the excitement, Olivia witnesses the discovery of a time capsule in the foundation of a local church. The historical society president hopes to display its contents at their party, but when the items are finally revealed to the public, Olivia notices one of them has vanished.
After a frightening find beneath the pier—the body of Ruthie Holcomb—Olivia is certain there’s a connection between the young woman’s death and the missing piece from the time capsule. With the help of her fellow Bayside Book Writers, Olivia sets out to uncover some clues and ensure a killer has no reason to celebrate…
Olivia Limoges has many things going on in her life in Oyster Bay, North Carolina. Olivia wants to become a novelist and she is glad her friend Harris has returned from Texas, since his return will hopefully motivate the Bayside Book Writers group to get back on track. As a restaurant owner, she is involved in an upcoming fundraiser for the historical society. She is also helping her head chef, Michel, plan his upcoming wedding. Olivia and Michel witness an important event for Oyster Bay when a time capsule is discovered in a local church. The contents will be revealed at the fundraiser event, making this the must-attend event of the year, but it seems the historical society president, Bellamy Drummond, may be keeping a few of the items secret from the rest of the town. The tragic death of a young girl appears to be an accident, but Olivia thinks the death is related to the missing items from the time capsule and decides to get to the bottom of the mystery. If this isn’t enough to keep Olivia busy, she is thinking about when and where she wants to hold her own wedding to Sawyer Rawlings, but Olivia has secrets of her own which could come between them if word gets out before Olivia confides in her fiancé.
Lethal Letters is the sixth book in the Books by the Bay series. I have read most, but not all of the books in the series, but think new readers could easily start with this book and still enjoy the story. There are a lot of different characters and subplots in the book, but all are intertwined and easy to follow, even if you are new to the series. With everything else going on in the book, I’m glad the author has stayed true to the original premise and included ample scenes with the book writers group reading and discussing each other’s writing. I also enjoy the literary quotes at the beginning of each chapter, whose wide range of sources include T.S. Eliot, Stephen King, and William Shakespeare.
The characters in this book, especially Olivia, are complex. Olivia is becoming easier to like as the series goes on. She is intelligent, generous, and outwardly sophisticated. However, beneath her “Ice Queen” exterior, she is insecure due to her family background. As the reader learns more about her vulnerabilities, she becomes easier to relate to. Olivia has plenty of compassion for others, but doesn’t seem to trust that others will give her the same courtesy. This leads her to making decisions that could sabotage her own happiness. I can understand why she is worried about some of the townspeople learning her secret, but I hate that she feels she can’t confide in Sawyer.
Olivia’s investigation into the time capsule and the death of Ruthie Holcomb is interesting and clues are given throughout the story. I was able to figure out part of the solution, but not all, since there were a few twists I couldn’t have guessed. In places, the book moves a little too slow with no progress being made toward solving the murder. Having one of the writers club members go undercover with nobody in the small town being the wiser is a little hard to believe, but overall this is an entertaining book with one of the most unusual solutions to the murder I’ve seen in a cozy. Fans of this series or other books by Ellery Adams, as well as readers who enjoy Erika Chase’s Ashton Corners Book Club series will enjoy the characters and the mystery in Lethal Letters.
Reviewed by Christine