Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong stories and characters
Cons: I’ve finished reading the book already
The Bottom Line:
Body on island
Another fast paced story
Characters I love
Fall Brings Mysteries for Julia
I know I say this often, but there are some series I can’t wait to read. One of those is Barbara Ross’s Maine Clambake Mysteries. Sealed Off is the eighth novel in the series, and it is another outstanding visit with Julia Snowden and her friends and family.
This visit with them starts in early October as the season is winding down for the residents of Busman’s Harbor, Maine. The clambake that Julia and her family run on their family’s island is just running on weekends through Columbus Day. Unfortunately, tension among the staff seems to be reaching the boiling point. Romances among the staff have been causing issues all season, but Julia was hoping they could make it until the end of the season, and those issues would resolve themselves before the clambake starts up again in the spring. A fist fight as the guests and crew were leaving one days brings things to a head, and leaves Julia in the unfortunate position of firing her boyfriend’s brother. However, a dead body on the island the next morning only makes the situation worse.
Meanwhile, demolition has started on the mansion on the island that has been mostly abandoned for years. Julia and her family are surprised when the demolition uncovers a previous sealed room. It appears that room was closed off in the 1890’s. Will a diary they find in the room help them figure out what happened all those years ago?
There’s a reason I teased both the main mystery and the sub-plot here. Honestly, it’s strong enough to almost be an equal second storyline more than a sub-plot. Not that I’m complaining because I was hooked on both of them from the very beginning. Between the two, I was glued to the book and always had a hard time putting it down when real life got in the way of my reading time. As if often the case with this series, by the time I finished the book, I was left in awe of how the clues had been woven into the story.
Because of the conflicts going on, we get some development on a couple of on-going storylines in the series, which I appreciated. Even better, this provides some opportunity for character growth in several of the main characters. We also get appearances by a couple of supporting players from an earlier book, which I enjoyed. Naturally, the characters introduced here are just as strong as the series regulars.
As usual, there are five recipes at the end of the book. There are options for both seafood and non-seafood lovers, too.
This book is tightly written with not one wasted word. I set it down completely satisfied. Well, almost completely satisfied. I mean, the next book isn’t ready yet.
It is always a pleasure to read a book in the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Sealed Off will please the series’ many fans and leave them as anxious for their next visit as I already am. If you haven’t made that first trek to Maine yet, don’t wait another day to start this fantastic series.
Looking for more? Here are the Maine Clambake Mysteries in order.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.