Release Date: Dec 18, 2019
Series: A Maine Clambake Mystery
Steamed Open is the seventh book in the Maine Clambake mystery series by Barbara Ross and the first book in the series that I had read. It can be read as a standalone, although I now want to go back and read the rest of the books in the series as well, to get to know all of the characters a little bit more.
The mystery starts off with the community of Busman’s Harbor in Maine getting together for a farewell boat cruise in honor of a Lou Herrickson, a beloved resident who recently passed away. Lou left her property (her house, the lighthouse, and a cottage) to her only living relative, her grand-nephew Bartholomew Frick. Frick immediately begins to make changes to the properties and installs a locked gate that prevents residents and clammers access to the beach. This is a major problem for Julia Snowden, as her family puts on a clambake twice a day every day in the high tourist season and needs access to the beach in order for her clammers to get the fresh seafood daily. Julia decides to talk to Frick to make him see reason and come to an agreement, but alas reason was not to be seen by Frick and Julia leaves him discouraged. She is then later approached by the police who inform her of Frick’s death and as she was one of the last people to see him, she is now a bit of a prime suspect.
This book was really great! I read it fairly quickly and the mystery actually kept me guessing, each chapter seemed to have a new clue that added some more depth and mystery to the murder for Julia and us to work through. Although the end was a bit predictable, there were many moving parts to the story and many characters and motives that I found myself hooked and did not want to put it down. The characters in this book were a great addition to the main story line, and each had their own little history which we got small glimpses into. This novel did have a bit of a storyline that revolved around Chris’ background (Julia’s boyfriend). Exploring more of these characters are the main reason I want to go back and read the whole series. I do not want to write too much about the book so as to not give the mystery away, but rest assured that this is your typical cozy mystery that you won’t regret picking up!
As much as I did enjoy the book, I will say that it is a bit hard to get into right from the start. For me, this wasn’t a pull me right in from the first page type of mystery. But one that really sunk its teeth in about three or four chapters in. So for those of you who get bored very quickly, just hang in there with this one and it will pay off! Also, another warning – this story will make you crave east coast seafood.