Boiled Over is a murder mystery set in a small coastal Maine town, and there is nothing ‘cozy’ about it. At least, I didn’t think so. I actually wonder why any mystery should be called ‘cozy’. But that is another topic for another day.
Busman’s Harbor is gearing up for its Founder’s Day celebration, something the town committee has planned to get more tourists in the town and improve the economy. Julia Snowden is spending the summer at home to help with her family’s clambake business and try to save it from the taxman. As crowds surge toward the clambake, the charred remains of something other than clams or lobsters are found! Something gory that I still can’t get over. The dead man turns out to be the owner of the local RV Park, a quiet man. Julia’s teenage employee Cabe is the primary suspect.
Julia is making out with her old flame but isn’t sure how long it will last. Her mother hovers in the background. Sister and family live on the nearby island the family owns. As the story unveils, we meet various characters like a nervous tour guide who has stayed on in town after the murder, Bunnie, an energetic older woman who is on the town committee, the cranky diner owner, residents of the RV Park and an absconding photographer who may have captured the whole crime on his camera.
As the police investigate, new facts come to light about the victim. That is the best thing about this book. Just when you think the mystery might be revealed, there is a new twist and the search goes on. Julia is relentless in pursuit. The history of Maine is woven in skillfully. Some things like the Indians that migrate from Canada to Maine to pick blueberries each summer provide a nice background, not to mention an interesting history lesson.
As Julia investigates further, it begins to look like almost every one around her could be the culprit. Her boyfriend ups the stakes by getting serious and is sulking when she doesn’t respond. Boiled Over is so apt as a title because you literally sweat through the pages. Also, all that talk of beaches, islands, lobsters, clam bakes and berries will surely have you ready to hit the beach.
Boiled Over is sure to be nostalgic for people living on the coast, especially in the North East or in Maine. For anyone else, it is a glimpse into a different kind of life wrapped around a good story and juicy mystery.
Boiled Over is definitely a must read for all book lovers.