Dipped to Death
Olive Grove Mystery, Book #3
By Kelly Lane
Author Website: kellylanewrites(.)com
On her family’s South Georgia olive plantation, Eva Knox is on the hook for murder in the third delightful Olive Grove Mystery from the author of One Foot in the Grove and Cold Pressed Murder.
On a sizzling-hot September day, Eva Knox’s ex-boyfriend, Dudley Dexter Codman the Third, along with a bunch of his corporate cronies from Boston, arrive at Eva’s family’s guest inn and olive farm, Knox Plantation. Maps and binoculars in hand, the New Englanders claim they’re on a bird-watching holiday. Only, Eva knows that her ex doesn’t know the first thing about birds. Nor does he care.
Eva can’t fathom why he’d show up after all these years in her off-the-beaten-path hometown–nearly 1,200 miles from Boston. When Dudley’s body is found drowned in the pond, Eva starts fishing for answers. But she doesn’t have much time after authorities determine that her ex was poisoned by one of Eva’s family’s olive oils. She’ll have to find the real killer before her family is caught for murder. (From Goodreads)
If you haven’t read the first two mysteries in this series, now is the time to start! This is third in the Olive Grove Mystery series, and can be read as a standalone. It is very well-written, with in-depth characters and a mystery that is far more complex than it appears. A plus, if one enjoys learning something new, is learning about the health benefits of olives and various herbs. The colorful cover with Dolly gracing the dock invites one to come to Abundance, Georgia and spend some time with the Knox family.
Knox Plantation has been in the family for generations. It has only in recent years added the olive grove and now the fruit is bearing rewards in the sale of oil and products made from the oil. When Daphne Knox Bouvier caught her husband cheating, she packed up her five children and returned to the Plantation, moving them to the third floor and turning the second floor into an inn.
Eva Knox returned to Abundance after leaving everyone’s favorite Boston newsman at the altar. Her public relations firm lost too many customers because of it, and she could no longer keep the doors open. Coming full circle, she had left Abundance at the same time she left everyone’s favorite farmer, now Sheriff, Buck Tanner, at the altar 18 years ago. However, part of her secret for leaving has also come full circle, bringing his business associates to Abundance with him.
Eva had no idea they were there until the twin daughters of Daphne’s best friend, Charlene and Darlene, didn’t come to work, sending Eva to wait tables during the dinner hour. Imagine her shock to find Dudley “Dex” Dexter and co-workers Claudia, Coop, Wiggy, and Spencer, sixteen years after breaking up with him. Nobody, absolutely nobody, in Abundance knew she had ever dated him, much less been engaged to him, too. Hopefully it will never come out, because some secrets are better left behind. Except just like rain on a bad roof, the secrets will now leak out.
Eva was volunteered, by Daphne, to lead an olive oil presentation and tasting. After a creepy experience with Dex in front of the group, they had a heated disagreement. The next day, Eva and her pup, Dolly, were at the small lake on the property when they made the gruesome find – Dex was dead, nude, in the lake. Ugh. Not only did Eva have history with him, his was the fourth dead body she had come across since returning a few months earlier.
This mostly delightful cozy has very well-defined people. Those I would like to meet most are Eva, Pep, the middle sister with a very unique style, Ian Collier, the very handsome Scotsman who lives in the mansion next door, and Precious Darling, Ian’s Estate Manager and part-time chef at the Plantation. Eva and her growing knowledge of olives and olive products, her determination to find out who killed Dex, and her sense of humor make the mystery what it is. Pep brings out the fun in almost everyone except older sister Daphne, while Precious is the glue who holds them together while keeping life from getting too serious. Ian, portrayed as an enigma with a marvelous accent who rescues Eva several times this summer, seems to be the better man than Sheriff Buck, who appears to flirt brazenly with Eva while another woman claims to be planning marriage with him.
One would read this novel and be intrigued by the situation of what happened to Dex. Another mystery is why the Bostonians are in Georgia. They claim to be bird-watching during Peep Week, but these are not the kind of people who don’t care about birds or any wildlife, much less have an interest in nature hikes to watch them. The twists and turns bring fascinating changes to the course of the mystery, a couple red herrings, and even some…military tie-ins? The end is very surprising, with a killer I would never have guessed, and the reason for the non-bird-watchers’ visit is more nefarious than at first glance. I highly recommend this cozy mystery, and hope to see more of this series.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*