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 equals a cliche.
Who better to decode the cliche clues than the 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...
At first, I was a little leery about reading this book, considering I read the first and didn't like Olivia nor her actions. I'm not going to say that everything has changed - I still don't like the way she parks wherever she wants, such as loading zones and in front of fire hydrants - but she seems to have become softer in this book, and actually shows that she truly cares for her fellow book club members.
When her friend Laurel is considering a job with a local newpaper, Olivia reluctantly agrees to help her by pretending to be her photographer. They are investigating the home invasions that have taken place recently. The people who were robbed are all known to one another, albeit tenuously in some instances, but there is definitely a link; and even though Laurel and Olivia are told to be careful, they still try to find that link.
In the midst of this, there are a few subplots weaving through: her co-members' personal problems and lives, (which are interesting, by the way), and Olivia's own life. She has become involved with Flynn McNulty, the owner of the local bookstore, and although he wants to take the relationship to a deeper level, Olivia still finds herself buried in the past and isn't able to bring herself to forge any kind of a deeper relationship with him. Eventually, we see the reasons why, but we are taken along on a decent journey to that destination. It also eventually brings her to a different realization, but one in which you will have to read the book to find out.
I like the fact that Olivia was able to grow as a person; she is able to - reluctantly - begin to trust her newfound friends and is beginning see that living the solitary life isn't as satisfying for her as it once was. In the end, I'm glad I capitulated and decided to continue reading this series. Maybe Olivia will turn into a real human after all.