Shucked Apart

Maine Clambake Mystery

By Barbara Ross             

ISBN: 9781496717962 


Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra                   


The Snowden Family Clambake Company has a beloved reputation in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Almost as famous is the sleuthing ability of proprietor Julia Snowden, which is why an oyster farmer seeks her out when she’s in trouble.

When Andie Greatorex is robbed of two buckets of oyster seed worth $35,000, she wonders if somebody’s trying to mussel her out of business. Could it be a rival oyster farmer, a steamed former employee, or a snooty summer resident who objects to her unsightly oyster cages floating on the beautiful Damariscotta River? There’s also a lobsterman who’s worried the farm’s expanding lease will encroach on his territory and Andie’s ex-partner, who may come to regret their split. Before Julia can make much headway in the investigation, Andie turns up dead, stabbed by a shucking knife. Now it’s up to Julia to set a trap for a cold and clammy killer . . . (Goodreads)


As I return to Busman’s Harbor, Maine and the Snowden Family Clambake Company – I remember the joy I had when I read the “first to me” book in this series (I started at book 3 – Musseled Out) and the promise I made myself – I would read more in this series. And yet – I have let numerous books pass me by. Well, I have now read Shucked Apart – book 9 in the series by Barbara Ross in just a few days and am again reminded again why I really, really enjoy the writing of this author. I was able to slip right into the life of Julia Snowden and life in Maine.

Shucked Apart begins with Julia being introduced to Andie – a friend of her boyfriend Chris. An innocuous introduction, except that Andi is a member of Chris’ poker night buddies, which Julia assumed were all male buddies. The reader gets a sense of something off when Andie says “So glad to finally meet”. I know my “something is off” senses came to light with that. How can Julia not know any of Chris’ poker buddies after more than two years of dating? Regardless, we learn that Andi owns Great River Oysters – supplying many local eateries with oysters. Unfortunately, Julia and Andi are introduced as a result of an assault and robbery where Andi lost $35,000 worth of oyster seeds. With Julia’s known prowess at solving mysteries – Chris introduced the two women in the hopes that Julia can get to the bottom of the theft. Before progressing too far into the investigation, Andi turns up dead. So of course Julia is going to try and figure out what happened. The journey we are lead on is indeed full of twists and turns and does keep the reader wondering “whodunit”.

This mystery was a fun read, which kept me guessing. While there were a handful of viable suspects, at the half way mark – I thought I knew who the culprit was but much to my surprise – I was wrong and found out at the end. The mark of a good cozy mystery – keeps one guessing until the end.

One of the lines I found quite interesting, as well as funny was when Chris was talking to Julia and he said while helping themselves to a buffet full of deliciously described food:

               “You have to get over this new thing you have about raw seafood.”

This is odd given the fact that she runs a clambake operation. Here is hoping future additions to this series shed some light on this.

This book contained not only an interesting mystery but the reader gets to meet more of Julia’s family. Additionally, we are invested in the journey of Julia’s personal life – which is not always smooth. And to me that makes it all the more relatable and endearing. I can’t wait to see what transpires next for Julia in this series.

If you are looking for a good read, enjoy cozy mysteries, scenic locations and lots of descriptions of delectable food – then might I suggest you pick up Shucked Apart by Barbara Ross and begin your reading journey. 

Note: You can read this as a standalone.