Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to feature Muddled Through by Barbara Ross today!
Muddled Through (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
10th in Series
Setting – Maine
Kensington (June 28, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback : 272 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496735692
ISBN-13 : 978-1496735690
Kindle ASIN : B09HRCJYXF
In the tenth installment of Barbara Ross’s award-winning mystery series starring Julia Snowden and her family’s coastal Maine clambake business, a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall leads to murder–which means it’s up to Julia to clean up the case.
Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman’s Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case…
When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she races over. Her sister Livvie works there as a potter. Livvie is unharmed but surrounded by smashed up pottery. The police find the owner Zoey Butterfield digging clay by a nearby bay, but she has no idea who would target her store. Zoey is a vocal advocate for turning four blocks of Main Street into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. Other shop owners, including her next-door neighbor, are vehemently opposed. Could a small-town fight provoke such destruction? When a murder follows the break-in, it’s up to Julia to dig through the secrets and lies to uncover the truth…
We arrive in Busman’s Harbor, Maine just in time for Mud Season and a local fight about a new pedestrian mall. Most of the people who have lived there forever have no interest is the mall or change in general. Newcomer Zoey Butterfield is in favor of the project and that could be the reason her pottery store Lupine Design was vandalized. Because Julia’s sister Livvie works at the shop she pitches in to help clean up the place after the police give them the go ahead. But it going to take a little longer to clean up the mess that a murder leaves behind. Zoey is high on the suspect list. To help her new friend Julia decides she is the one that can get to the truth but she could get killed before she unties the final knot of clues.
With the clambakes not starting for a while, our protagonist is spending time on Morrow Island at the family estate overseeing the renovations and making some fun choices. That leaves her plenty of time to help get Zoey out of the mess she finds herself in. Zoey and Julia seem to become fast friends and I liked that. I hope we see Zoey in future books. Chris, on the other hand, I am done with him. Julia still finds it hard to see him and she needs to move on and out of her mother’s house. She is a strong woman who seems to be able to accomplish anything she puts her mind to and that is why she is one of my favorite cozy characters.
Ms. Ross has put forth another complex mystery. Secret, lies, twists, turns, all had the pages rapidly turning. A local philanthropist adds some interesting answers that lead Julia to go over everything she had compiled in her investigation. She comes up with a new theory and runs with it. That running takes her into a very scary situation that had me creeping right up to the edge of my seat. My “Aha Moment” coincided with Julia. I do love it when that happens because that means I fell for everything the author wanted me to.
Mud Season in Maine is probably not the optimal time to visit but it did make for some interesting and some very funny scenes as we Muddled Through the story.
Muddled Through was A Perfect Escape! Great characters, a plot that kept me on my toes, and plenty of MUD. By the end of the book, the clambakes are starting but Julia’s life is still in flux. I am excited to return to Busman’s Harbor to see what Barbara Ross has in store for her wonderful characters next.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
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.”