Retro Reading: The Last Word by Ellery Adams
Does Your House Have Hidden Treasures?
In the third installment of A Books by the Bay Mysteries, Olivia Limoges' friend and fellow member of the Bayside Book Writers club, Harris Williams, won a few thousand dollars in a cardboard boat building competition. He said he was going to buy a house with his winnings.
So that's where we begin with the third installment, The Last Word.
Harris is just about to sign the papers for his new abode when world famous writer Nick Plumley wants to rent the house for a sequel to his bestselling book. Olivia steps in and makes sure that Harris gets the house rather than Nick.
Although the house is going to need a lot of work, Olivia (as a housewarming present) hires her contractor to re-do the kitchen and a couple of local contractors are also along for the ride. While doing some work on the staircase, they discover a small cubby hole with a thermos inside and inside of that is a perfect painting from a famous POW in North Carolina.
Plumley's book was about foreign POW's living in a camp not too far from Oyster Bay and Olivia begins to wonder if the house doesn't hold more treasures that Plumley wants to get his hands on. She thinks there was a reason why Plumley wanted the house so bad.
After she has the painting authenticated, she calls Plumley who ends up renting a condo a mile from her and they decide to get together so she can show him the painting. Since it's just a mile along the beach she and her poodle, Captain Haviland, take their morning walk over to Plumley's and once there discover that he's dead. Within a span of fifteen-twenty minutes someone had enough time to off him.
At least in this installment there are more suspects and Adams does do a better job this time with keeping you guessing who the murderer is. Unfortunately, though the closer you get to the ending, the easier it is to figure out who wanted Plumley dead.
While I still found myself counting pages until the end of the book (the chapters are just too long) I've always liked the famous quotes which are used to start off each chapter. It sets up the chapter and gives you something additionally to think about.
I was further impressed with the scene regarding Mabel who is the best link to the past. Mabel is suffering from Dementia and on this particular day, she is in much better health but halfway through the scene she slips away before returning to the present.
Throughout these last installments, Olivia, while still unlikeable, is starting to turn a new leaf. She's not into herself as much as when we first met her. I think out of all of the series in which I've read, this character is one that has shown the most development over a span of stories.
I just hope that before I finish the series (with two more installments to go) I hope I can start to review on a more positive note.