Title: Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery) by Barbara Ross
Genre: Currently #30 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: To be released December 26 2017
Source: Kensington Books and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Stowed Away – Cover promises cute cozy mystery
I love it when the cute and compelling book cover delivers on its promise to be a fun, sweet little ride. This sixth book in the series also makes you envy what appear to be a gorgeous Maine, Atlantic Coast blue skies, fair winds location and seaward lifestyle. And you know I’m all over that!
This little romp in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross features versatile and capable Julia Snowden as protagonist and amateur sleuth. She is low-key, perceptive, and quick to catch any nuance. She is part of the Snowden family that offers an annual sail and clambake to their little tourist retreat on Morrow Island twice a day for the summer season. During the off-season, she is part owner of a little diner with Quentin Tupper in Busman’s Harbor, Maine.
The old family mansion on the island, Windsholme, deteriorated for lack of funds and then recently suffered a fire, rendering it uninhabitable until the family inherits sufficient funds to rehab. Mom Snowden is deliberating whether the old place would be worth renovating when a former prep school acquaintance of Julia’s, now architect, returns in a glorious monster yacht owned by billionaire Geoffrey Bower and anchors in Busman’s Harbor. Wyatt Jayne, the architect, has created quite the reputation for herself of restoring aging mansions to their original glory. A former girlfriend of Quentin, she is here to retrofit the yacht. He prompts Jacqueline Snowden to engage Wyatt to additionally consider whether Windsholme has the bones to achieve a significant retrofit of its own.
Julia has a boyfriend, Chris Durand, although he doesn’t figure as prominently as does Sergeant Tom Flynn, the local boyfriend of the yacht chef, Genevieve. Tom and Julia have collaborated before doing some amateur (on her part) sleuthing while Tom shares info with Lieutenant Binder of the state police.
Unfortunately, the reclusive billionaire Bower doesn’t live long enough to see his plans for Wyatt or his yacht, Garbo, get beyond the initial stage. Tom is in love with the yacht’s chef, Genevieve, who quickly becomes a suspect, and Wyatt herself becomes a suspect. Quentin implores Julia to help clear both ladies.
The town and people easily become visualized under Ms. Ross’s gentle descriptions. You can almost smell the ocean and taste the salt air, reach for a warm cable-knit sweater against the cool evening ocean breeze.
The book functions well as a stand alone. You get to know Julia as she tries to juggle helping her mother prepare for the clambake, sister, boyfriend, and delve carefully into the yacht personnel including both Wyatt and Genevieve.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t find many cozy mysteries rushing headlong into the plot. The subtle setting of the scene should draw you in and it does. The story weaves in and out of characters, both on land and those from the yacht, until they are fleshed well enough you can begin to make assumptions–but you’d be wrong.
This story includes a plot twist so deliciously different, you’ll find yourself grinning and bobbing your head. Of course! But it wouldn’t have occurred to you to even consider that.
Ms. Ross has a way with words, deceivingly comfortable dialogue. Fortunately, you don’t have to put the book down to eat.
I totally loved the climax! I had theories, but wouldn’t have guessed this one. I actually had to chuckle–you GOT me, Barbara! I think I can see where this might go in the seventh of the series, however, and when it does I want to be there.
I downloaded this digital offering from Kensington Books and NetGalley and was absolutely thrilled and delighted to read and review this book. Recommended for all who love cozy mysteries, thrillers, suspense, women or amateur sleuths, clambakes or coastal town stories. Sit down with a hot beverage, maybe a fish cracker or two, and treat yourself.
Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars
The Author: (From Amazon Author page) Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries–Clammed Up, Boiled Over, Musseled Out, Fogged Inn, and Iced Under. Stowed Away, the sixth Maine Clambake Mystery will be published on December 26, 2017. You can visit her website at http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com
Barbara’s books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel, and RT Books Reviewer’s Choice Awards, as well as the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Her holiday novella featuring amateur sleuth Julia Snowden was published along with novellas by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis in Eggnog Murder from Kensington Books in October 2016.
Barbara blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors. In the summer, Barbara writes on the big front porch of the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. ©2017 Virginia Williams