Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters; twisty mystery
Cons: Pacing a little off near the beginning
The Bottom Line:
Billionaire in town
Sets up mystery filled with
Characters I love
Start of Tourist Season Derailed by Murder
Each series author is different in their timeline. Some authors let us pop into the lives of their characters so far apart that the characters age in roughly real time. And some authors set their books close to each other time wise. That’s what Barbara Ross does with her Maine Clambake series. Stowed Away is the sixth book in the series, but it’s been a very murderous year for main character Julia Snowden since it opens just about a year after the first in the series.
It’s June once again, and Julia and her family are getting ready to reopen the Snowden Family Clambake for the season. They are also discussing what to do with the ruins of Windsholme, the mansion that is on the island where they take their customers for the clambake. Julia’s mother wants to rebuild it, but Julia thinks they’d be better off tearing it down.
Julia is surprised to discover that the woman coming in to consult on the project is Wyatt Jayne. Wyatt was Julia’s first roommate at her high school prep school, but their shared past makes Julia wary of the woman.
Wyatt is in town thanks to billionaire Geoffrey Bower, a man who lives on a yacht. Geoffrey is having his yacht completely updated, and Wyatt is overseeing that project as well. However, when a dead body shows up on the ship, Julia finds herself being drawn into the case for a very personal reason. What happened on board the yacht?
This book features several sub-plots that weave in and out of the main mystery. Unfortunately, I felt like they took too much of the focus early on in the book, delaying the murder. Now, don’t misunderstand, I found these stories just as interesting since they concerned Julia and the other series regulars, plus we were meeting the suspects during this time.
Once the dead body is found, things do kick into high gear. I was very intrigued by the twists that happened along the way, including a couple that really surprised me. The ending was satisfying, which is an amazing feat considering some of the twists along the way, and how Julia arrived there showed some great deduction.
There is a reason that I mentioned the series timeline at the start of this book. It is very interesting to watch the series regulars’ relationships develop as the series goes along. In this case, I’m definitely glad that each book is only a month or two apart because it allows us a chance to really see these relationships grow. We get a few surprises in the supporting characters in this book as a result of the subplots, which is something I truly loved. And have I mentioned yet how much I love this cast of characters? They are so real and so much fun to visit. We get plenty of time with the suspects, of course. They all get their moment to shine and therefore confuse us until the very end.
The book features three recipes at the end, two that will have seafood lovers’ mouths water, and one for those of us who don’t enjoy seafood.
Watching these characters grow and change is always a delight, and fans of the series will be happy to visit them once again in Stowed Away. And if you haven’t yet found this delightful series, you really do need to fix that today.
Book another visit with Julia in the rest of the Maine Clambake Mysteries.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.