BOILED OVER is Book two in Barbara Ross' Maine
cozy mystery series. The story is set in Busman's Harbor,
Maine and Founder's Day activities are foremost on
everyone's mind until the murder. Barbara Ross does a great
job of showing the small town hierarchy and how that
influences everyday life. BOILED OVER is a mystery in which
nobody is who they appear to be, and the fun part is
tracking down clues to find out who they really are.
The murder victim is found in "The Claminator" -- something
belonging to Julia Snowden's family. The prime suspect also
just happens to work for the Snowdens. Both of these things
make for a plausible explanation for why Julia gets
involved in the murder investigation. I found the multiple
identities used in this book, and the cast of characters to
be fascinating. The air of mystery surrounding so many of
the characters coupled with the small town setting are
evocative of an Agatha Christie-style story. There are so
many good suspects that I kept guessing right up until the
end. Julia is great as an amateur detective because she's
easy to relate to and empathize with.
Julia is a little conflicted in BOILED OVER. In a way, it's
almost as if her life is on hold while she helps her family
financially by working in the family business. There is a
temporality to everything -- she's using her mother's home
and vehicle rather than put down any roots and get her own,
and she refuses to think of anything with her boyfriend in
the long term. This window into the main character's inner
life adds depth and is an interesting side story in
addition to the murder mystery.
BOILED OVER is an intriguing and enjoyable cozy mystery
with great characters! I hope Julia comes to a clear
decision in the next book about what direction to take,
with both her livelihood and her romance, in the next book.
I look forward to reading the next book in this fun mystery
For Julia Snowden, the Founder’s Day summer celebration in
Busman’s Harbor, Maine, means helping her family’s clambake
company to prepare an authentic taste of New England
seafood. Any Mainer will tell you that a real clambake needs
wood for the fire . . . so why is there a foot sticking out
of the oven?
The townspeople want to pin the murder of the RV park owner
on Cabe Stone, a new employee of the Snowden Family Clambake
Company–who bolted from the crime scene and disappeared.
Julia knows having another murder associated with her
family’s business is a recipe for disaster . . . but who is
the killer? Cooking up a proper investigation doesn’t leave
much time for the rest of Julia’s life, and this is one
killer who’ll do anything to stop her from digging up clues
At the Claminator, Sonny conferred with Cabe, his expression
serious. As the band hammered its way to a big finish with
the “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Bunnie climbed the
single step to the stage and stood behind the podium. I
scanned the crowd for Stevie, but didn’t see him. Evidently,
Bunnie was done waiting.
From my perch on the curb, I glanced over at the Claminator.
Sonny and Cabe’s conversation grew more intense. Even from
thirty feet away, I could tell Sonny was unhappy about the
fire. Livvie scooted over to speak to him, then walked away,
looking concerned. Sonny lifted the mesh skirting of the
Claminator and aimed the hose he’d been using to spray the
canvas at the fire to dampen it. He jumped back as the
flames surged outward, like a grease fire. But there was no
grease in a clambake meal that could drip into the fire.
I’d worked at the clambake for years and never seen anything
like it. But then we’d never cooked on the pier before. This
was the maiden voyage of the Claminator.
Sonny said something urgently to Cabe, who jogged toward the
fire truck parked on the street beside pier. Sonny bent down
and lifted the metal skirting again, a poker in hand. The
crowd surged around him, blocking my view. Sonny swore
I shoved forward. “Please! Let me through!”
The crowd parted just in time for me to see something that
looked like a charred human foot and part of a leg fall out
of the fire onto the pier.