Thursday, June 23, 2022

Muddled Through by Barbara Ross

 Muddled Through
Book Summary

Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman's Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case . . .
When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she races over. Her sister Livvie works there as a potter. Livvie is unharmed but surrounded by smashed up pottery. The police find the owner Zoey Butterfield digging clay by a nearby bay, but she has no idea who would target her store. Zoey is a vocal advocate for turning four blocks of Main Street into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. Other shop owners, including her next-door neighbor, are vehemently opposed. Could a small-town fight provoke such destruction? When a murder follows the break-in, it’s up to Julia to dig through the secrets and lies to uncover the truth . . .
My Thoughts

Muddled Through by Barbara Ross takes us back to Busman’s Harbor, Maine.  Julia Snowden finds herself embroiled in another mystery courtesy of her sister, Livvie.  Livvie works at Lupine Designs owned by Zoey Butterfield in the off season.  Zoey is a potter who makes beautiful plates, cups, bowls, platters, and other related items.  Julia gets a frantic call from her sister.  She rushes down to the shop to find the place destroyed.  Someone managed to get into the shop in the early hours and destroy the store’s inventory.  Zoey had been out collecting clay, so she was no in her apartment above the shop.  The day after a raucous town meeting, Phinney Hardison is found dead in the basement of Lupine Design.  Zoey is the prime suspect since it is her shop, she had access, and she had an altercation with the victim at the town meeting the previous evening.  Zoey and Phinney were on opposite sides of pedestrian mall matter.  Livvie asks Julia to investigate and prove Zoey’s innocence.  Julia has her work cut out for on this case.
Muddled Through by Barbara Ross is the tenth A Maine Clambake Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone since the necessary background information is provided.  Barbara Ross has a casual writing style.  It is friendly and engaging.  It makes her stories easy to read.  Julia Snowden is single after parting ways with Chris Durand. She has returned to her mother’s home since Gus needed Julia’s apartment for family.  It is spring in Maine which means it is the muddy season.  The mud and rain make it difficult to get around.  You need to have sturdy wellies if you are going to be out and about.  The town is in an uproar over the proposed pedestrian mall.  Four blocks of Main Street would be blocked to road traffic on Friday and Saturday evening during July and August.  Shops could set out their wares and restaurants could offer outdoor dining (a street festival vibe).  Zoey Butterfield, a local potter and store owner, is in favor of the pedestrian mall.  Phinney Hardison is not in favor of the mall or tourists.  He still considers Zoey a flatlander.  
Phinney is found dead in Zoey’s basement which leads to a major investigation.  Julia is a curious person by nature.  She likes to know the answers, so it does not take much persuasion to convince her to look into the crime.  Julia asks questions, looks up information online, and searches for clues.  The mystery becomes interesting in the second half of the book.  I enjoyed following Julia as she gathered intel.  I love solving whodunits.  I had an inkling as to why a certain person committed the crime, but I was not completely sure until Julia uncovered the final clue.  The reveal is suspenseful and suits the series.  Julia is still trying to get over Chris Durand.  Zoey gives her some good advice.  It looks like there is a potential love interest or two for Julia (when she is ready).  I enjoy the author’s descriptions of Maine.  It sounds like a beautiful area.  I liked meeting Alice Rumsford (a local philanthropist).  I hope we get to see more of her in the future.  Muddled Through is a wicked fun time with messy mud, pulverized pottery, ardent debating, mall melee, a slain neighbor, key conundrum, a brilliant breakthrough, and a questioning Julia.
Muddled Through will be out on Tuesday, June 28 and it is available for preorder from Amazon*.  You can find the other nine A Maine Clambake Mysteries here.  Barbara Ross has Hallowed Out releasing on July 26.  You can follow Barbara Ross on Amazon to receive an email when she has a new book release.  Thank you for visiting today.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on Her Darkest Secret by Jessica R. Patch.  I hope that you have a relaxing day. I am heading outside to complete a few tasks.  I am working on our seating area.  I have finished putting together the new rockers.  I am getting rid of the Adirondack chairs (too low).  I am putting down a new carpet that goes with the colors of the rockers and side table (various blues).   This will probably be my last outdoor chore for the next two months.  It is getting too hot to work outside even for a short period of time.  I have plenty to keep me busy inside where it is cool.  Take care, stay cool, and Happy Reading!


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