BOOK REPORTI love the Maine Clambake Mysteries by Barbara Ross, and I recently finished MUSSELED OUT.
This is number 3 in the series and set in the Fall. Julia returned to Bushman's Harbor, Maine to help get her families clambake business back in shape. She took a leave of absence from her job in NYC and has to make a decision; to either resign or return. And if that isn't enough a smarmy big box restaurant owner has come to Bushman's Harbor to start his own destination clambake. Fortunately for the Snowden Family Clambake, they have their own island and craft (to take folks to the island) which is something the Thwing is lacking. That doesn't stop Julia's brother-in-law, Sonny, from taking an exception to him.
While out on the island, getting things ready for the last clambake and getting ready to close things for the season, Julia sees a boat adrift. The boat belongs to Peter, Sonny's best friend. When the Coast Guard takes control of the boat they find Thwing dead and Peter missing. Of course Sonny is the prime suspect and on top of everything he is keeping secrets.
It seems a lot of people in town are keeping secrets. There is quite a bit going on in this story, but it is not overwhelming. Julia's beau, Chris, her mother, her brother-in-law, the Sungg sister's, Sonny's father-in-la and Peter's wife are all keeping secrets. Thwing's mysterious partner is in town, Mrs. Gus has taken suddenly very ill. There is a lobster war and Julia has a lot of decisions to make.
But all of these things work nicely together to tell a very well crafted story. The setting is beautiful and everything is so well described. And there is a little education into the "lobstering world" to boot. The characters are likable, but if you want to know my favorite characters...the wealthy Quentin Tupper and Le Roi the Maine Coon.
What I really love about Barbara Ross' writing, is the dialog between characters; it is so real. The dialog flows as if the characters are real and really talking. It is hard to describe, but when I read the conversations it just seems so "authentic."
All in all this is great series and I look forward to following it. And it makes me want to go on a destination clambake even tho I don't like sea food!