Series: A Maine Clambake Mystery, #3
By: Barbara Ross
Author’s Website: http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com/
Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble brewing for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwing–the “Mussel King” of an upscale seafood restaurant chain–is sniffing around town for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to the least of his troubles…
Musseled Out is the third book in Barbara Ross’ A Maine Clambake Mystery series and the first book I have read by this author. Given my enjoyment, it will not be my last. What I liked most is that I was kept guessing as to whom the murderer was as the potential suspect list was long. And let us not forget…many of the suspects seemed to be related to Julia! Julia had other distractions in addition to solving the murder…..like what she to plans do about her job in Manhattan? Will she leave Busman’s Harbor and return to her job or continue on in the revitalization of her family’s business: the Snowden Family Clambake Company? Additionally, Julia appeared to have concerns with respect to her relationship with her boyfriend Chris (over and above the murder issue and his part or non-part in the event).
It might have been beneficial to start at book one, to see the evolution of the main characters, but I must say that the back story was adequately noted so that I was up to speed about the ‘cast of many; the town inhabitants’ quickly enough. I have now put the first two books on my TBR pile.
The murder occurs at the tail end of the summer season. Julia has been home for a while (sabbatical from her job – but that can’t go on forever) trying to maintain the family business as a going concern. The clambakes are held on Morrow Island (the private island the family owns). Unfortunately, there seems to be impending competition from David Thwing–the “Mussel King” of an upscale seafood restaurant chain as he has set his sights on Busman’s Harbor as the location for a new restaurant. During the first introduction of David, I certainly felt like this was just one shifty, slimy business man…and hoped his restaurant would not detract from the Snowden Family Clambake operations. This turns out to be a non-issue as Mr. Thwing turns up dead…tangled up in rigging at the bottom of a boat.
One character I thought provided interesting contrast was Quentin Tupper, the owner of the boat named Flittermouse, self-made millionaire and investor in the Snowden Family Clambake business. He frequently said things like “that’s not right for you” (when Julia was contemplating a rental apartment or her job in New York) but then did not provide alternatives or further explanation to his comment.
Without giving any of the good stuff away, there are many sub-plots which definitely added to my enjoyment of the story. As Julia weaves her way through the suspects (and a lot of those suspects are either family or friends of family), we see her tormented and driven to solve the mystery….her thoughts that it cannot be family! Time will tell . I also enjoyed where Julia’s life choices went at the end of the story….certainly leaving room for more murders and mystery Busman’s Harbor? I think what kept me engaged was the complexity of the various and numerous relationships between the inhabitants of Busman’s Harbor.
I also got a bit of an education with respect to the lobstering way of life, and all that it entails on the east coast.
I can say with certainty that I have found a new cozy author which I plan to follow and read any chance I get.
*OBS would like to thank NetGalley for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*