Shucked Apart by Barbara Ross
It is May in Busman’s Harbor, Maine where Julia Snowden is working on finding employees for the upcoming season which begins on Memorial Day. Julia is interrupted by her boyfriend, Chris Durand who has brought his friend, Andie Greatorex. Andie was assaulted and robbed of $35,000 of spat (oyster larvae) just after arriving home from purchasing it. Andie feels that someone is trying to warn her off because she has applied to lease additional space for oyster beds. There is also a time factor with the oyster seeds. If they are not properly cared for, they could die. Julia has a variety of suspects from rival oyster farmers, lobsterman, to a resident who does not like their view marred. Before Julia can make headway in the investigation, she finds Andie murdered with a shucking knife in her neck. The killer obviously felt threatened. Julia needs to figure out which person she questioned could be the killer.
Shucked Apart by Barbara Ross is the 9th A Maine Clambake Mystery. It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series or may have missed a book or two. Reading the earlier books, though, will provide more background on Julia, her family, friends, and the business. It is May and the season has not begun yet in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Julia Snowden is surprised when her boyfriend, Chris Durand brings his poker buddy, Andie Greatorex to visit her (where she learns Andie is a woman). Julia is told that Andie was attacked and robbed of the oyster larvae (spat) she had just purchased. Andie would like Julia to use her sleuthing skills to see if she can uncover the guilty party. This is a different type of case for Julia. She does have some extra time on her hands, so Julia agrees to do a little digging. Julia questions several people including Andie’s ex-partner (business and personal), a lobsterman, a rival oyster farmer, and a neighbor of Andie’s. Julia has barely begun her investigation when Andie is murdered. The mystery provides us with a couple of suspects, a red herring, and subtle clues. There was a nice surprise in this whodunit. It was nice to catch up with Julia before the busy season begins. We do see Chris, but the other regulars are largely absent (one or two only briefly mentioned). I must admit that I am not a fan of Chris’s. He is a nice man, but he does not seem like the right person for Julia. I could tell the author did her research on oyster farming. It was interesting learning how oysters are raised and harvested (not that I would ever eat one). I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of Maine as well and I liked that we left Busman’s Harbor to visit nearby Damariscotta. We also learn about the rivalry between lobsterman and oyster farmers plus how residents feel about the oyster beds. I thought Shucked Apart was easy to read with a likeable main character. The pacing varied in this story. While Shucked Apart is not my favorite book in this series, I still enjoyed my visit. Shucked Apart is a charming tale with oyster offspring, rival lobsterman, employee problems, lease barriers, and sly sabotage.
Shucked Apart can be obtained from Amazon*. You can find the other A Maine Clambake Mysteries here. Barbara Ross also writes A Jane Darrowfield Series. Barbara Ross along with Leslie Meier, and Lee Hollis has Halloween Party Murder publishing August 31. Thank you for checking out my review today. I am featuring Dreams Rekindled by Amanda Cabot tomorrow. It is the second book in the Mesquite Springs series. I hope all of you have cheery day. Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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