Steamed Open, the seventh in the Maine Clambake Mysteries, has great characters and will teach the reader about clamming but the mystery was too easy to solve.
Bartholomew Frick, a stranger in town, inherits theHendrickson mansion, lighthouse, and beach after 101-year-old Lou’s death. His first move is to bar access to the beach. His second is to be murdered with a clamming fork.
When Lou’s elderly housekeeper, Ida, asks Julia for help in clearing her name, Julia looks for the real killer. Julia juggles sleuthing with her island clambake lunches and dinners. In addition, she uncovers why her boyfriend has been so secretive about his family. Last, but not least, there are five recipes included: Linguini with clam sauce, clam dip, clam potato casserole, raspberry muffins and sour cream coffeecake.
I enjoyed the Maine atmosphere and the great and varied characters. Chris’ backstory is heartbreaking. Watching the police get mired down interviewing everyone multiple times while Julia proceeds to find the answers to two old Hendrickson secrets was fun. However, the clue to the murderer’s identity was too obvious, like a flashing yellow sign.
Steamed Open is a good choice for cozy readers looking for a slice-of-life portrait of how people live in coastal Maine. However, for armchair detectives like me, it didn’t offer enough of a challenge. 3 stars.
Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.