Book Review: A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams (A Books by the Bay Mystery #1)


AKillerPlotCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: In the small coastal town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina, you’ll find plenty of characters, ne’er-do-wells, and even a few celebs trying to duck the paparazzi. But when murder joins this curious community, the Bayside Book Writers are there to get the story…Olivia Limoges is the subject of constant gossip. Ever since she came back to town-a return as mysterious as her departure-Olivia has kept to herself, her dog, and her unfinished novel. With a little cajoling from the eminently charming writer Camden Ford, she agrees to join the Bayside Book Writers, break her writer’s block, and even make a few friends…

But when townspeople start turning up dead with haiku poems left by the bodies, anyone with a flair for language is suddenly suspect. And it’s up to Olivia to catch the killer before she meets her own surprise ending.

Genre: Cozy mystery
Setting: Somewhat modern day Oyster Bay, North Carolina. The book was published in 2010, and there are few statements that date the book, one in particular about MySpace.
My Copy Came From: This was either given to me by a friend or I purchased a used copy at a library book sale.

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: Yikes this was a difficult read! I found myself laughing a lot (for all the wrong reasons) or gritting my teeth throughout much of this read. This will definitely not be a series I continue with!

A Killer Plot has a cute setting, of Oyster Bay, North Carolina, a coastal town. Cozy mysteries are always in the cutest locations, and this one didn’t disappoint in that respect! Our main character, Olivia Limoges, goes walking on the beach with a metal detector, digging up interesting objects, and I have a hunch that this metal detector will factor into a future mystery at some point.

Besides enjoying the setting, I actually did like some of the periphery characters. Olivia joins a local writing group, the Bayside Book Writers, and these characters were fun. From the twenty-ish gal writing a YA dark fantasy, to a science fiction author, to Laurel, who is attempting to write romance, the scenes with these characters I did enjoy, as silly as they were.

But now the bad. I absolutely could not stand the main character, Olivia Limoges. And the thing is, she didn’t really do anything that usually bugs me about a cozy mystery heroine (always being in the wrong place, getting involved when the police tell her not to, doing silly sleuthing on her own, or fiddling with the scene of the crime, etc etc). It was just her personality and arrogance that I didn’t like. Here’s the thing. Olivia is rich. Not just rich, but super wealthy. And the reader is constantly reminded of this fact. She’s described as an “oak barrel heiress”, and constantly states how wealthy she is.

Besides this annoyance, she instantly bugged me as early as page 3 of the book, when she parks in a disabled parking space because there are no other spaces to park in. And, as she is oh-so-wealthy, she doesn’t care if she gets a ticket (no mention of concern for someone who might actually need that space), as “that’ll just add more funds to the community treasure chest”.

Olivia has a pet poodle, named Captain Haviland, whom she makes polenta with Parmesan cheese for in one scene. Apparently plain polenta just would not do for the Captain. I couldn’t figure out why Captain Haviland was the dog’s name (was it a literary reference? A boating reference?), and then when a character mentioned a connection between Haviland (the dog’s name) and Limoges (Olivia’s last name) it clicked for me. But, instead of finding this humorous, I just found it eye-roll-worthy.

So, as Olivia annoyed me right from the beginning, I don’t think I’ll be reading any more in this series, and nor will I likely read any more from this author either. Which is too bad, as she’s written a lot of books, and writes cozy mysteries under several different names (J.B. Stanley, Jennifer Stanley, Lucy Arlington, and Ellery Adams). I’ll leave you with some of the funniest quotes from the book, as these are just too good to not share.

His hazel eyes resembled the muddy green of a deep woods pond.

and later on

his eyes were less the brownish green of pond water and more like sun-dappled tidal pools.

And here’s a clever one:

This guy knows enough about computers to use a special font.

This comment did not give me any high hopes for the sleuthing abilities of the police chief, who uttered this bonehead statement, nor the mastermind abilities of the criminal, who is skilled enough in computers to change a font. (!)

And now for Olivia’s thoughts on leashing Captain Haviland:

she would rather pay a host of fines than force her poodle to wear such an undignified contraption

So there you have it, just a few reasons why I won’t be continuing with this series or this author anytime soon! As the author has written so many books, she clearly has a following, and I mean no disrespect if you enjoy her works, and perhaps this series shows Olivia changing over time and becoming less annoying, but I’m not willing to invest any more time in it to find out. But you know, the more I think about this title, the more I realize that it thoroughly entertained me, and sometimes that’s exactly what we need when reading a book. Even if it was for all the wrong reasons.

Bottom Line: Not for me, which is too bad because I really did enjoy the seaside North Carolina setting.

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Does this sound like a fun cozy mystery series? Or are you as fed up with Olivia as I was while reading the book? Have you read any of the author’s other works?


11 thoughts on “Book Review: A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams (A Books by the Bay Mystery #1)

  1. Well, do I feel the fool 🙄. Haha! I have read about six books in this series and while Olivia annoys the heck out of me, I never paid enough attention to realize why! I knew she was annoying and ,yes, stuck up on her own richness, but I never clued in on the obvious disrespect for others (parking, and letting the Captain roam the beach to do his business, as examples.) Never once do I recall her collecting this “business” and I now hope she steps in it while wandering the beach with her metal detector. I knew I read some books without paying attention to details, but hadn’t realized I had taken it so far! An awakening moment if ever there was one! At least I gave up on the series a book or two ago, but that doesn’t explain the first however many I read! Thanks for reminding me why!!! 😳😄😄😄🙄🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yes, I agree with you. At one point, she “shooes away” a waiter…..really? whose disrespects wait staff like that? I read a couple more books, including the last, and wonder why the author ended this series the way she did. It felt pretty desperate.


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