Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to share my thoughts on the latest Maine Clambake Mystery today!
Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
7th in Series
Setting – Maine
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07BV3RCDG
It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?
Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.
Busman’s Harbor, Maine is in an uproar as Bartholomew Frick shuts down Sea Glass Beach access on a property he is set to inherit from the much-beloved resident Heloise “Lou” Herrickson. Julia is worried about having enough crabs for their Snowden Family Clambake’s and about the clammers that are losing their income. The tourists aren’t happy either especially a couple that was booked to spend a few nights in the nearby lighthouse. Soon after Julia tries to meet with the man to try to come up a plan to reopen the beach he is found dead. There are plenty of suspects as he had angered plenty of people. Just who was mad enough to commit murder? Julia plans to find out.
It was so nice to escape to Maine in the summertime as the cold weather here tries to chill us to the bone.
This time in addition to the beach being closed off preliminary plans have been drawn for repairing and renovating Windsholme, the mansion on Morrow Island that been empty since the 1920s. The mansion on the beach that Bartholomew Frick was inheriting was built by the same builder so the architect and designer are anxious to get a peek as they continue to finalize the plan. Julia and her boyfriend Chris are having some issues but she opens her will finally open up and tell her more about the secret she knows he is keeping.
This was a really fast read for me. The death of “Lou” Herrickson sets off a chain of events that had my pages absolutely flying. Her family tree and her will designations were very surprising to the people of Busman’s Harbor.
All my favorite characters were back and some new characters that definitely fit the “quirky” definition were introduced. One couple traveling by RV is trying to see or sleep in all the lighthouses in the U.S. What a fun idea!
I liked that we delve into Chris’ past in this story and start to understand him better. He has had a complicated life and the author is finally allowing Julia and us readers in on his past.
The entire story is very well-written with subplots the blend perfectly into the main plot. Twists, turns, and some exciting moments take place as Julia does her best to solve this mystery. There is a clear “edge of your seat” moment near the end that had my heart racing.
I love the way Barbara Ross tells a story. She drew me in, set a brisk pace, and took me on a wonderful little trip complete with delicious food descriptions (with recipes) and a top-shelf mystery.
Each book in this series can be read on its own but for maximum enjoyment, I recommend reading them in order.
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries, including the Agatha-nominated Best Contemporary Novel Clammed Up, as well as Boiled Over, Musseled Out, Fogged Inn, Iced Under and Stowed Away. Steamed Open is the latest book in this series. Her story “Nogged Off” appears in the holiday novella collection Eggnog Murder along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. In the summer, she writes on her big front porch overlooking the water in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. You can visit her website at http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”