Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review - Written in Stone

Written in Stone: A Books by the Bay Mystery

By: Ellery Adams
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 2012
ISBN: 978-0425251737
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 14, 2012

Sometimes Olivia Limoges felt like an outsider in Oyster Bay, but with Chief Sawyer Rawlings at her side that seemed to be changing. After waiting half her life for someone to come into her life, Sawyer seemed to be opening up her heart to the world. Almost. When she had a little bitty run-in with a jerk of a doctor, Dr. Niptuck, and took a little revenge on his orange Corvette with her Range Rover ... well, she just wasn’t feeling the love. Michel, the chef at her five-star restaurant, The Boot Top Bistro, was gaga over Shelley Giusti. He was even more wild about the fact that Noah Wiseman, executive producer of the Foodie Network, wanted him to help judge at the Coastal Carolina Food Festival.

It was fortuitous, but it was hard to revel in Michel’s good fortune when she had something slightly more ominous on her mind. Olivia wore a delicate starfish pendant her mother had given her as a child shortly before her tragic death in a hurricane. Dixie, the owner of the local diner, exclaimed “Munin wants you to come to her ... she’s been waitin’ for the right time to send for you and now the time’s come.” Munin Cooper was a witch and a lunatic rolled all into one and how on earth did she get Olivia’s mother’s starfish pendant? Was she going to buy into that nonsense? Maybe, just maybe she’d have to go find out and Harlan Scott would take her into the forest to find her.

“Death is coming to this forest.” Munin was spouting out so much nonsense, but when she saw her mother’s pendant embedded in the surface of a clay jug she was taken aback. “It holds all of the answers you seek as well as those you might not want to know.” Empathy, curiosity, and a modicum of disgust washed over Olivia as she later envisioned Munin, but soon it turned to shock. Dead. Munin had been bitten by a rattler and drowned in a stream. It didn’t seem possible, but right on the back of her death Michel’s protégé, Lumbee Indian Willis Locklear, collapsed at her feet at the Festival. The mysterious memory jug held the key to the murders, but it wouldn’t “give up its secrets easily.” The only way to unlock the key to the tragedies was to enlist the help of the Bayside Book Writers before Olivia became even more unraveled than she already was. Would the jug spill its secrets before the killer struck again?

This amazingly whimsical, yet complex mystery is nothing short of a reader’s delight. Every piece of Munin’s mysterious memory jug puzzle fit perfectly together in the end. There were so many unusually appealing elements that quickly drew me into the tale. The KKK, an insane witch, a ghostly resurrection, the memory jug, weird prophecies, and fatal family connections. Ellery’s prose was lyrical and, in the opening scenes, carried just the right touch of humor that quickly gave way to mystery and intrigue. Olivia didn’t go it alone, but had the help of her friends who diligently tried to pick apart the mystery of the memory jug, a jug that held the key to the killer. This is one mystery that you won’t be able to put down, not until you’ve turned over the last page!

Quill says: If you want a cozy mystery that weaves every single element you love in mysteries rolled into one book you'll adore Written in Stone!

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