The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman's Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble simmering for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwingthe "Mussel King" of upscale seafood restaurantsis sniffing around town for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to be the least of his troubles. . .
When Thwing is found sleeping with the fishes beneath a local lobsterman's boat, the police quickly finger Julia's brother-in-law Sonny as the one who cooked up the crime. Sure, everyone knows Sonny despised the Mussel King. . .but Julia believes he's innocent. Proving it won't be easy, though. It seems there's a lot more than murder on the menu, and Julia needs to act fast. . .
Includes Traditional Maine Clambake Recipes!
About the Author
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Read an Excerpt
By Barbara Ross
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Barbara Ross
All rights reserved.
My cell phone trilled as I pulled my boat up to the town pier in Busman's Harbor, Maine. I glanced at the display. Owen Quimby. Owen was human resources director at the venture capital firm where I'd worked in New York. It was barely 8:00 AM, and I pictured him fidgeting at his desk, waiting for a "decent" hour to call.
I pressed Accept. "Hold on a sec, Owen." I heard his impatient sigh as I tied up my family's Boston Whaler and then climbed onto the pier. "I'm here," I said into the phone.
"Julia." Owen's voice exuded a hearty fauxbonhomie. "So nice to talk to you. You've ... missed my last few calls."
In his hesitation, I could almost hear him consider and eliminate words like "dodged" and "ignored," then settle on the less accusatory "missed." The truth was, I hadn't missed his calls. I'd dodged them.
Owen continued. "As you know, last March, when the firm granted your request for a leave of absence to attend to family business, you said you'd be back in six months. Then you called after Labor Day to ask for more time, and we agreed. But it's almost the middle of October. We can't keep your position open much longer. It's not fair to your peers. If you're not coming back, I have to replace you."
Last March, I'd sublet my apartment in Manhattan and taken a leave from my job to race back to Busman's Harbor to save my family's clambake business from bankruptcy. Despite some heavy challenges, we'd succeeded. The Snowden Family Clambake Company—along with our tour boat, my mother's home in town, and Morrow Island, the private island where we held our clambakes—was safe, at least for the moment. I'd never intended to stay beyond this single season, but complications had ensued.
I was in love.
"I understand," I told Owen. And I did. I also knew he could replace me in a heartbeat. Business school graduates lusted after jobs like the one I'd occupied for six years. "I'm close to making a decision," I lied.
"You're actively considering returning to the firm?" He sounded skeptical.
I didn't blame him, but in the interest of preserving my options, I answered, "Absolutely."
"Make your decision quickly. You have until the end of the week, Julia. By Friday, I need to know your return date or that you're resigning. If you don't call by then, you'll be fired for cause—job abandonment. And I don't need to tell you how much harder it will be to find another position in this field if you're terminated."
"I understand," I reassured him.
We said our good-byes and I clicked off the phone, glancing at the time as I did. I was late.
"Let me get this." The rental agent, a kindly middle-aged woman dressed in neat wool slacks and a mustard-colored cardigan, jiggled a key in the lock. The door swung open and the dark hallway flooded with light. "You'll find it looks quite different now that it's empty."
The last time I'd been in the apartment above Gleason's Hardware store, a friend of my sister's had lived there with her mother and young son. Back then, there'd been too much furniture and far too many toys crowded into the apartment's tiny rooms. The rental agent was right—it did look much bigger. I stepped inside.
The combination living room-kitchen area stretched from the front of the apartment to the back, big windows at each end making it bright and sunny. I passed through the main room and stepped into the bedroom, which was also bigger than I remembered. During my years in Manhattan, I'd known plenty of people who lived in less square footage than this. Heck, I had for most of my time there. The little apartment over Gleason's Hardware might do quite nicely.
It couldn't have been closer to my work. The window out the back looked down on the town pier and the Snowden Family Clambake's ticket kiosk. Just beyond the kiosk, the Jacquie II, the boat we used to bring two hundred customers—twice a day, every day, in the high season—to our private island for a real Maine clambake, stood quiet and empty at her mooring.
Summer had become fall. The Snowden Family Clambake was only open weekends, and after next Monday, Columbus Day, we'd shut down for the year.
I turned from the window and walked across the bare wood floor to the front of the apartment, where the windows looked out over Main Street. They felt tight, an important consideration with winter coming, though the October day was sunny and unseasonably warm. Leaning my forehead against the smooth glass and craning my neck, I could see my mother's house sitting at the top of the hill less than two blocks away. Maybe this wasn't such a great location. I loved my mother and I loved my job, but did I want to live where I could see both from my windows?
"Of course, you'll want a twelve-month lease," the agent said. "I'm sure they'll go for it. Especially because it's you."
"Twelve months?" I tried not to sound anxious.
"It's for your own protection. So they don't take money from you for nine months and then kick you out in the summer when they can get a much higher rent."
"I hadn't thought about a lease." I hadn't, in truth, thought about much of anything. During the clambake's busy season, there'd been no time. With the clambake winding down, I finally had time to think. Maybe too much time.
But a twelve-month lease sounded like forever. Maybe by next summer my relationship with my boyfriend, Chris Durand, would be in a place where we'd move in together. Chris and I had had our ups and downs, dizzying highs and appalling lows, but we'd been on an extended up since the end of August.
But having a boyfriend, and even a place to live, wouldn't solve the problem of having nothing to do. When I'd arrived in Busman's Harbor late last winter, there'd been so much work to do to save our business—negotiating with the bank to restructure our giant loan, building a business plan and budget from the ground up, beefing up our marketing. But that wouldn't keep me busy this winter. Or pay the rent.
So maybe I'd leave running the Snowden Family Clambake to my sister and her husband and return to my real life in Manhattan. I didn't know what I'd be doing next summer, or next week, for that matter. Stressed out as I was about the decision, it was wonderful to have options. Options were something I hadn't had for months.
"I'll let you know," I told the rental agent.
"Make a decision quickly," she said, echoing the words of Owen Quimby. "It won't stay empty long."
The agent locked up and we clattered down the noisy wooden stairs and pushed through the glass-paneled front door onto Main Street. We said good-bye at the corner and I headed around the block, back to the town pier.
A line of senior citizens milled about, waiting to board a large, gray bus, which idled noisily in the road. The driver stowed walkers and small suitcases in the luggage compartment underneath. In the way of small towns, most, though not all, of the faces in the line were familiar. Two stood out. Fiona and Viola Snugg, called Fee and Vee, ran their bed-and-breakfast, the Snuggles Inn, in the gingerbread-covered Victorian house across the street from my mother's. The sisters were family friends and honorary great aunts.
"Hello, dearie." Fee spotted me as I spotted her.
"Hullo." I gave each of them a peck on the cheek. "Where're you off to?"
"Campobello Island, overnight. So lovely to get away," Vee said. She had pink cheeks and masses of white hair piled on her head, and was dressed, as always, in a skirt, hose, and high heels. Her older sister, Fee, standing beside her, had on a practical pair of wool slacks and huge white sneakers. In her left hand, she clutched a walking stick, an ebony shaft with a silver head that had been their father's. Arthritis bent her back so badly, Fee was now shorter than my paltry five-foot-two.
I looked around at the crowd. Most of the people waiting to board the bus, except the most ancient of the ancient, had toiled endlessly through the high season, as Fee and Vee had. They spent their summers laundering sheets, cooking divine English breakfasts, and cheerfully advising their guests about every activity our peninsula had to offer. I was glad they were finally getting to enjoy themselves, and on such a beautiful autumn day. Traveling just over the Canadian border to the summer residence of Franklin Roosevelt would be a special treat.
"It'll be nice to be out of town," Fee commented, her eyes darting around, studying faces. The other people in line were engrossed in their own conversations. "You know, to get away from the tension."
"It's a bad business," Vee added.
"Indeed." I didn't want to say more. The lobstermen in town were feuding with the men from Coldport Island, our nearest lobstering neighbors, about the rights to set traps in nearby waters. It was a touchy subject that could generate aggressive arguments. I wasn't comfortable discussing it in public. Coldport Islanders didn't often come to town, particularly after the daily service that took tourists from Busman's Harbor to their island shut down after Labor Day. The weekly ferry they relied on through the off-season landed farther up the mid-coast at Rockland, which was where most Coldporters took care of their grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, and other mainland business. But a seniors tour to Campobello Island was exactly the sort of thing that might attract someone from the island, so I kept my mouth shut, and so did the Snugg sisters.
"Where's the other musketeer?" I asked. Usually, the sisters went on these expeditions as a threesome with Mrs. Gus, the wife of my favorite elderly restaurateur, Gus Farnham.
The corners of Fee's mouth drooped. "She's too poorly to come. Such a shame."
Like Fee, Mrs. Gus suffered with arthritis, though I'd never before seen either woman give into it. Mrs. Gus must have been feeling poorly, indeed.
Fee brightened. "We told her we'd bring her something."
Vee smiled, too, and they were back in the spirit of the adventure. "Let's board!" the busman called.
I stood at the bottom of the bus's steps and the driver stood at the top. Working together, we got everyone aboard. I waved good-bye until they were gone.
When the bus pulled out, I found myself standing across from the one thing that could bring me down on such a beautiful day. Next to the Snowden Family Clambake ticket booth on the town pier, the two-by-four skeleton of a second kiosk rose. The fancy carved sign next to it promised boat rides and gourmet meals offered by Le Shack, David Thwing The Mussel King, Proprietor. And there, polishing sea gull dung off the sign with a white handkerchief, was the Mussel King himself.
The Snowden Family Clambake had never had a direct competitor. Sure, there were plenty of tour boats in Busman's Harbor, and plenty of places to get a tasty lobster dinner, but no one else combined them into a "dining experience," as we called it. Just when we'd gotten the clambake back on its feet, David Thwing had come along. I tried to see the situation rationally. To well-wishers and employees, I was upbeat about Thwing's planned venture. "Just proves someone else believes there's demand," I said, parroting words I'd used to soothe panicky entrepreneurs and nervous investors back in my venture capital days.
But my emotional self couldn't see it that way. Why, oh why, oh why ? I'd fumed. Why now? The Snowden Family Clambake Company was saved, but barely. What if this new competition tipped us back into the red? We'd worked so hard. If the business went sideways again, we'd be right back where we started—owing tons of money, unable to support the family. It was all too much to think about.
David Thwing looked up and saw me. "Ms. Snowden," he called. "Ms. Snowden!"
I recognized him from his many appearances in The Fog Horn, Busman's Harbor's weekly newspaper, but I was surprised he recognized me. I ran the clambake company with my sister's husband, Sonny, and I'd happily let him lead the charge against Thwing. Sonny, our attack dog, had testified against Thwing at the public hearings as he'd sought space for his ticket kiosk on the town pier, docking rights for his tour boat, and so on. Thwing had prevailed in those early rounds. His successes irritated me, though I tried to be realistic about them. They infuriated Sonny.
I looked around the pier. It was Monday morning in the almost off-season and Thwing was the only person in sight. I sucked it up and crossed the road.
"Julia Snowden, we meet at last." Thwing extended a hand and gave me his best chamberof-commerce smile. He was a rangy man in his mid-forties, his bald head surrounded by curly, light brown hair that stuck straight up at the edges like a clown's. His olive-green suit was a dead giveaway he was from out of town. In Busman's Harbor, the only men who wore suits were funeral directors, bankers, and lawyers, and then only at work.
"Nice to meet you," I responded through gritted teeth.
"I take it you're the saner member of the family. Your brother-in-law doesn't seem to want me in town. I hope you're not afraid of a little competition." He smiled an oily smile. He had a strange way of moving, like a marionette, all jerky elbows and knees.
"The Snowden Family Clambake has run a successful business in this harbor since my late father started it thirty-two years ago," I said, staring straight into his mud-brown eyes, "I'm sure we'll be fine."
I said it with more confidence than I felt. Thwing's restaurants offered superb seafood. I knew because I'd eaten several excellent meals at the flagship restaurant in Portland. Le Shack served upscale, gourmet food, including its signature mussels. Thwing had some sort of hotshot chef working for him and they'd been a runaway success. In the last few years, he'd expanded to become a mini-chain with five restaurants in Maine coast harbors stretching from Ogunquit to Bar Harbor.
"We'll see if your little family operation has what it takes to go head-to-head with professionals. I give you less than a season." He moved closer, towering over me. I was smaller and younger, but working in venture capital, I'd gone toe-to-toe with enough of these guys not to let him intimidate me. I moved around him and stepped over the threshold into his unfinished ticket kiosk.
"Mind if I take a look?" I asked, a little belatedly, since I was already inside.
"Be careful! That's a construction zone. Get away from there!" Thwing threw his weirdly articulated arms in the air, elbows bent at sharp angles. In his green suit, he reminded me of a lobster attempting to roust another from its den. He obviously wanted me out of his ticket booth. Which made me stubbornly determined to stay put. I planted myself in his doorway as I continued our conversation.
"How's the hunt for a venue going?" I asked, all innocence. "Find anything yet?" Thwing had received permission from the town to dock a tour boat and build a ticket booth, but I'd heard he lacked the one thing the Snowden Family Clambake had—a place to serve his food. Thwing needed a beautiful island or an isolated piece of beach on Eastclaw or Westclaw Point, the spits of land that surrounded Busman's vast outer harbor. He would find a site, I was sure of it. There was always someone looking to sell out. But once he'd done that, he'd have to get permission to build on it, even to have a dock where his passengers could disembark. He'd need a victualer's license and a liquor license and Sonny would be there, fighting him every step of the way.
Maybe we'd catch a break. I hoped so. If we didn't, if Thwing got all his permits and built his restaurant, my options might melt away. I'd feel duty bound to run the clambake next summer as we competed with him.
"As a matter of fact, I'm looking at some promising properties today." He pulled his phone from his suit pocket and glanced at the display. "Will you look at the time? If I don't get going, I'll be late."
Then he charged off in his weird, stalking pace in the direction of the back harbor.CHAPTER 2
My business in town concluded, I steered our Boston Whaler back into the navy-blue water of Busman's inner harbor. Most of the pleasure boat moorings were empty. The sailboats and cabin cruisers had been hauled out and stored in one of the harbor boatyards, or loaded onto trailers for the long drive to warmer winter waters. Only a few stalwarts remained, hoping to grab one last day.
I tried to shake off my strange encounter with the unpleasant David Thwing. I'd put Sonny's personal animosity toward him down to the natural human impulse to vilify someone who posed a threat. But now that I'd met Thwing in person, I wasn't so sure. With his not-so-veiled insults and oily smile, there was a lot not to like about him.
As I reached the outer harbor, the chop increased and I held tightly to the wheel of the Whaler. There were six islands in the outer harbor, three of them inhabited. The largest was Chipmunk, home to a summer colony with a hundred homes. Ferry service had ended on the first of October, so only the hardiest of summer residents remained. Next week, the town of Busman's Harbor would turn off the great conduits that took fresh drinking water and electricity to the island and it would be abandoned for the winter.
Excerpted from Musseled Out by Barbara Ross. Copyright © 2015 Barbara Ross. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dollycas’s Thoughts Another tasty installment from Barbara Ross. In Clammed Up Julia came home to help save the family business. In Boiled Over she got the business steered in the right direction. Now in Musseled Out the season is drawing to a close and she needs to make a huge decision, return to her job back in New York or stay in Maine with her friends and family. Of course a dead body being found and her brother-in-law being a prime suspect will weigh heavily into her decision. First she needs to find out who killed the “Mussel King” and why, then she should hopefully, probably, maybe, make a decision regarding her own future. I quickly became caught up in this mystery because after reading the first 2 books I was very invested in these characters. Growing up in a family food business I understand how the whole family gets involved to making it a success so I really want the Snowden Family Clambake Company to succeed. A new competing business wouldn’t be a good thing but I can’t see Sonny killing someone over it so I knew there was much more to the story, but Ross truly surprised me with the way she mixed all the elements together. Barbara Ross slowly develops these characters. We learn more and more about them with every turn of the page. Livie, Julia’s sister, and Sonny have a new baby on the way. Add that to the business worries and things get a little stressful. Julia’s mom is unsure of her place since her husband passed away and she is branching out causing some concern from her daughters. Chris and Julia’s relationship is still so new and they are working things through as they get a little more serious. The author has given us a wonderful whodunit with just the right amounts of humor and romance. I loved the ending. I hope this isn’t the last we see of these characters. I have really enjoyed my Maine excursions.
I really enjoyed this fast, enjoyable book. Maine is a great place to have this story based in, if Busman's Harbor isn't a real town it should be. Hop on board the boat, breath in the calming sea air, enjoy the clambake and join in the fun and meet new friends. FTC Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
This is the third book in this series and it was as good as the first two i am hopeing to see more of her books in thr furture love the people I think this townand its people will become good friends a must read and if u have not read the first two books get to it
Oh this was a fun story, set in mid-coast Maine, Julia Snowden is on leave from her investment banking position to help out in the family owned clambake catering company. Musseled Out is the third in this series, but Barbara Ross has managed to present necessary information without overwhelming the reader, and the book reads well as a stand alone story. The summer season is wrapping up, and Julia has several decisions to make: her leave of absence is almost up, the original family home on the island where they have their clambakes was damaged by a fire and needs to be winterized to enable restoration and her relationship is at a crossroad. But when a potential competitor turns up entangled in lobster trap lines under a boat with no crew, the questions of who did it start to run amok. Along with the mystery is a truly honest portrayal of the life in small town coastal Maine, hardships, tiny squabbles and fishing territory disputes. Characters are wonderfully built, from Gus and Mrs. Gus who own the ‘ locals’ diner to the elderly twin sisters that run the B & B:, the local police, the women who rally around to support one another and even Le Roi, the Maine Coon Cat that is laden with personality and pizzaz. Joanna is well built, with a line of insecurities and several questions. While an insider because of her family, she’s been away for a while, and this gives her a unique perspective and viewpoint on both the town and the mystery of missing men, murder and above all, her own future prospects in this small coastal town. There is little to not like about this story, and with several potential suspects and an ever-increasing set of secrets the end is both satisfying and fitting, all while keeping the feel of a small town surviving on full-time residents and heart. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Love this series, the best series I have read in a long time. Love the characters. Can't wait for the next one to come out in Feb 2016
Looking forward to the next book in the series.
I thought it was a very good read.
This is the third book in the Maine Clambake series. I enjoyed all three but to me this was the best. The character relationships continue to be developed, each with its own story and some new turns in their lives. I like the Maine setting. Julia and Chris's relationship takes a nice turn and I like the ending to the story. It is a good idea if you read this series to start with the first book, Clammed Up, followed by Boiled Over.
Once again I started a series somewhere other than at the beginning. While you won’t be lost reading this book without having read the previous installments, in this case I do wish that I had read books one and two first. I think having a better understanding of the interpersonal relationships beforehand would have been nice, but the author does a good job of keeping you informed without totally rehashing everything that has already happened. With that aside, I really liked the story. There were enough characters and sub-plots to make it hard to guess “whodunnit”, yet without being confusing. I felt like I should already have known who did it once Julia finally figured out who the murderer was, but while the conclusion was logical, it was not obvious.
Another Great Mysterious Trip to Maine I had so much fun with the first two books in the Maine Clambake series, I couldn’t wait to come back and visit the Snowden clan again in book three. Having just finished Musseled Out, I can assure you this is a return visit you don’t want to miss. It’s the first week of October, and things are winding down for the season. That means Julia Snowden has to face the decision she’s been putting off all summer, will she return to her job in venture capital in New York City or stay to help run the family clambake for future summers. And if she is going to stay, what will she do over the upcoming off season? Complicating the decision is the fact that the Snowden Family Clambake is potentially facing stiff competition next year as David Thwing is looking to extend his chain of restaurants into the area with a twist, he’s going to open a competing clambake instead. Julia has a run in with the man down on the dock, and he is extremely unpleasant to her. A few hours later, Julia is present when David is discovered dead on the boat of a missing lobsterman. The police seem interested in Julia’s brother-in-law as a suspect since he’d had many public fights with the victim. Unfortunately, Sonny is clearly hiding something. What is his secret? Who really killed David? Once again, this book starts strong and the pace never slacks. I was turning pages as quickly as I could to find out what clue Julia would uncover next and what it would mean. With several characters hiding secrets, there was always some angle for Julia to be investigating. As things are finally resolved at the end, I was surprised at the clues I had missed along the way. Yes, that means the solution at the end is completely logical, and yet I still didn’t suspect until Julia figured it out. The climactic scene is different from many in the cozies I read, and I loved it as a result. I should have stopped reading when I reached it since my lunch hour was over, but I just couldn’t put the book down until I learned how things would be resolved. The characters have always been strong in this series, and this book is no exception. There’s actually a large cast of regulars, and all of them grow over the course of the story. The new characters we meet here are equally developed. Because the characters are so great, we feel the hits of the twists in the plot just as much as Julia does. And what would a culinary cozy be without a recipe or two in the back. This book actually includes eight mouthwatering recipes…if you like sea food, that is. I actually am not a fan, so those six don’t tempt me. However, the two non-sea food recipes, a pumpkin whoopie cookie and an apple pie, both sound great. Musseled Out is a wonderful addition to an addicting series that left me wanting more. If you haven’t met Julia yet, book your first clambake today. As for me, I’ll be back as soon as the next one comes out. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
[I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generousity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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] Julia and her family are typical seasoner Clambake owners in Maine. She, over the past two books in the series,, has come back home from her job in NYC to help run the family business. She's also gotten involved with Chris, her old school crush. Question is, her job in NYC wants to get her back. She's still not sure if she's gonna stay or not, and this book isn't where she'll find the answer. Her mother is never home, her sister and her husband:Lobsterman Sonny, and she and Chris dance around what he really did last summer, straing that relationship. No one can figure out how a businss wizard got hung up in the rigging on a sailboat. And did the biats owner fall overboard? Is he still alive? Julia, who has a knack for figuring out the puzzle pieces may even find she is a suspect. Then the diner owner's wife get sick, collapsing and taken to the hospital . However, no one can figure out what happened as Mrs. Gus lies comatose in the hospital. Everyone pitches in to keep the diner open for the couple while the gossip is about who was found dead on that boat. Add a dash of true Maine humor and some grand recipes in the back, and you have a mouthwatering fast read that won't let go until its finished.
Musseled Out is the 3rd book in the Maine Clank series I was anxiously awaiting a new entry and I was not disappointed! I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The characters are very well developed and make you want to visit them in Maine! In my opinion, this book is a must read for lovers of cozy mysteries
I found this to be a really enjoyable read. There are characters who are relate-able, dealing with believable challenges. (Although I have to admit that the guy who died was a real rotter and his murder didn't distress me in the least!) The setting is nicely presented. I really felt like I was on the coast in Maine. Some difficult choices for various characters and a promise of more interesting interactions to come.
Great Book! This is a great book; this is the third book in the A Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross. Julia lives in Busman’s Harbor, Maine and the summer tourist season is winding down. Julia senses trouble when she sees David the “Mussel King” snooping around. When David is found dead under a local boat the number one suspect is Julia’s brother in law Sonny. Now Julia needs to find the real killer to save Sonny. If you are looking for a great cozy mystery then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
Musseled Out by Barbara Ross is the third book in A Maine Clambake Mystery series. Julia Snowden had taken a leave of absence from her job working in venture capital and is helping her family run The Snowden Family Clambake Company (getting it back from the brink of bankruptcy). Owen Quimby, H.R. Director, has called saying she needs to come back to work or they are going to fill her position. Julia cannot decide what to do. She is given until Friday to make up her mind. The season is ending and they have to close everything up out on Morrow Island (the private island the family owns where they hold the clambakes). Julia’s sister, Livvy, along with her husband, Sonny, and their little girl, Page have already moved back to the mainland. Julia has to decide whether to get an apartment, live with her mother (she does not like that option), or move in with her boyfriend, Chris Durand. Julia has trouble with commitments and does not think she is ready to move in with Chris. The afternoon after looking at an apartment, Julia is out on Morrow Island. She sees a lobster boar drifting around. Lobster boats did not drift and Julia does not see anyone on board (from her position on the island). She calls in the Coast Guard and they haul the boat to Busman’s Harbor. When the boat is pulled up, they find David Thwing tangled up in the trap lines. Mr. Thwing along with Genevieve Pelletir (his chef and business partner) are opening a rival business. He was known as The Mussel King and had several restaurants. He was now going to offer gourmet meals instead of clambakes. Sonny had been opening opposing him. The owner of the boat, Peter Murray, was not on the boat. Everyone is out looking for Peter. Sonny is the police’s number one suspect. Livvy asks Julia to find out where Sonny was that day and prove him innocent. Julia has to clear Sonny’s name, find the real killer, decide if she wants to stay on the island or go back to Manhattan, and where she wants to live. Julia does not seem to be able to make decisions so she sets out to solve the murder. Something is also wrong with Mrs. Gus. She collapses and is rushed to the hospital. It turns out that her medication for arthritis had a foreign substance on them. But where did the medication come from? There is no label on them. Kyle, Sonny’s younger brother, seems to have a drug problem. But where is getting the drugs and the money to pay for them? Do the drugs tie into David Thwing’s murder? Julia has her work cut out for with the mystery! Musseled Out is a great cozy mystery. This book can easily be read as a stand-alone (if you have not read the two books before Musseled Out). I give Musseled Out 5 out of 5 stars. Musseled Out has romance, humor, interesting characters, an independent cat named Le Roi, and a good mystery. The mystery was medium level. Not super easy to solve, but not too hard. I look forward to the next book in this series! I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A Fun Read. I was fortunate enough to have gotten this book through NetGalley in exchange for a review, which I am happy to provide. This is the third book in the Clambake Mystery Series, but it was the first book by this Author for me. Its always a little bit iffy when you jump into a series in the middle, but some Authors do a really good job of not making you feel lost, and Barbara Ross is one of those Authors. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it had plenty of mystery and action, wonderful complex characters and it even included some mouthwatering recipes in the back. I can't wait to see what will happen next, but in the meantime I am going to read the the other books in this series. But be warned you might start craving some seafood while reading this book, I know I did.
The Snowden family is preparing for their last clambake of the season. Business has been good since Julia came back to town. However, she needs to decide if she will continue to stay in Busman's Harbor to help out with the family business or return to her previous lifestyle in New York. To make matters worse a couple family members and her love interest seem to be withholding big secrets from one another. Julia has little time to focus on those problems before a potential competitor is found brutally murdered and her entire time is spent investigating suspicious lobster trades, a missing person, and even some illegal activity. I really enjoyed this addition to the series. I love that the author took advantage of the bay setting and the local lobstermen to create a new setting rather than just the island clambake or nearby town. It was nice to learn a little bit more about a few of the reaccuring characters. I had the mystery figured out, but the story still continued to hold my interest. I'm happy that Julia finally made some desicions about her career and love life throughout this book. The new venture that occurred at the end will be interesting too! As always the food descriptions had my mouth watering for some seriously good seafood! I'm curious to see if Geinieve sticks around. The only thing that disturbed me was Sonny. His bad attitude and temper is really annoying. I didn't care for his dishonesty or the fact that his involvement in a serious situations seems to be overlooked.
Another fun read. Barbara Ross's Main Clambake Mysteries remind me of life in New England every time I pick up one of the books in this series. She does a great job of describing the area and the characteristics of the people that live there. If you want to visit Maine and enjoy a great mystery be sure to read this and all of the books in this series. The Snowden family clambake may have competition from a less than reputable businessman. Unfortunately he turns up dead and Julia must figure out why her brother in law, Sonny is lying about where he was at the time of the murder. To protect the family business, Julia has no choice but to get involved in finding out who the killer is before it's too late.
I love going to Busman's Harbor and spending time with the Snowden family and all the residents there. Barbara Ross has such a way with her writing that you feel like you are there. You feel like the invisible sister of Julia and Livvie or you will want to be. Julia returned home in the first book of the Maine Clambake Mystery books, Clammed Up, to help run the family clambake business before her mom loses everything. As with Clammed Up, the second book Boiled Over, both involved murders that Julia was involved in "helping" the police solve the crimes. Now here we are with Musseled Out and Julia is still there. Julia is facing a huge life-changing decision. Her job in the city has been kept vacant but the bosses need to know if she will be returning and when or they will have to fill her position. As she struggles with thoughts of leaving Busman's Harbor, her family, friends and her boyfriend, Chris, David Thwing is found tangled in the lines of a lobster boat. And her brother-in-law Sonny seems to be on the top of the suspect list. As Julia works on proving Sonny's innocence, helping at the local's only restaurant, she uncovers some town secrets that involve those close to her. She can't walk away from her family and town now or can she ?? The Maine Clambake Mystery series books are a treat to read. The town is a town you could see yourself living in, the people are people you can see yourself helping out with whatever is needed. You will be so inolved in the story that the end will be upon you before you know it. But don't worry Fogged Inn will be here soon enough !!!