Blurb: Summer has come to Busman's Harbor, Maine, and tourists are lining up for a taste of authentic New England seafood, courtesy of the Snowden Family Clambake Company. But there's something sinister on the boil this season. A killer has crashed a wedding party, adding mystery to the menu at the worst possible moment. . .
Julia Snowden returned to her hometown to rescue her family's struggling clambake business—not to solve crimes. But that was before a catered wedding on picturesque Morrow Island turned into a reception for murder. When the best man's corpse is found hanging from the grand staircase in the Snowden family mansion, Julia must put the chowder pot on the back burner and join the search for the killer. And with suspicion falling on her old crush, Chris Durand, the recipe for saving her business and salvaging her love life might be one and the same. . .
My Review: I'm a lifelong New Englander who has sadly never visited Maine, yet it's one of my favorite places to travel to via the pages of a book, most likely because of a childhood spent watching Murder, She Wrote. This first Maine Clambake Mystery by Barbara Ross is one of the best yet set in the Pine Tree State.
Venture capitalist Julia Snowden has returned home to Busman's Harbor with the task of saving her family's clambake business, her mother's home, and the island where the clambakes take place, from foreclosure. As part of the business plan she drew up, Julia is now catering large parties and weddings on the island. Her best laid plans don't include having the clambake shut down when the best man at the first wedding they're hosting is found hanging from the staircase in the family's island mansion.
I can honestly say I was completely stumped regarding the identity of the killer until the very end. With various locals and members of the wedding party telling only half-truths, the final revelation completely blindsided me.
The food descriptions in this book had my mouth watering, even though I'm not a huge fan of seafood. A particular favorite is the tourtiere (meat pie). I come from a French Canadian family and it's always been an important tradition for us.
Julia is a strong, likeable character, her family is close knit yet complex, and it looks like her love life is about to get interesting as well! Book #2, Boiled Over, due out May 6, 2014 is already on my calendar!