Tag Archives: Barbara Ross

A Day When Stan Connor Meets Julia Snowden by Liz Mugavero and Barbara Ross

custom-baked-murderStan

Stan Connor pushed open the door to Izzy Sweet’s Sweets, her mind on a few moments of peace and a giant soy latte. Peace was hard to come by these days, though, ever since her former coworker had been found dead at her mother’s engagement party. Granted, she’d probably had it coming, but that didn’t negate the fact that the whole town had been thrown into an uproar. Peace wasn’t in the cards for today, though. Izzy’s was jam-packed. Not one table, including the one nearest the back that Stan usually claimed with no trouble, waited for her with a free chair. The baristas rushed around behind the counter, attending to a line that snaked through the middle of the cafe. Some people oohed and aahed at the selection of gourmet chocolates, while others waited for coffee and pastry.

They were all probably here to gossip about the murder.

Stan bit back a sigh and joined the line. She should be happy her friend’s cafe was so successful. Izzy’s place attracted the most non-local guests of any business in town. And inevitably, once they saw how charming Frog Ledge, Connecticut really was, they supported other parts of the local economy.

Nearly ten minutes later, latte in hand, Stan headed for the counter at the back of the store. The bar overlooked Main Street, so it was perfect for people watching. There was one empty chair. Prepared to knock someone over for it, Stan reached it with no interference and sank down gratefully. It had been a long day, working on the design for her new Pawsitively Organic Pet Patisserie, due to open around the holidays. Not to mention the party this weekend she needed to prepare for. Her mother’s engagement party. To the Frog Ledge mayor. Which meant she’d be living in town basically full time.

The thought made Stan need much more coffee.

As she sipped, Stan looked out the window where a taxi claimed the only empty parking space on Main Street. As it backed in, Stan noticed the Maine plates. Man, are you lost, she thought. But then the driver’s side door opened and a petite woman around her own age climbed out. She ran a hand through her blond hair, but there was no mistaking the rumpled, tired look of someone who’d had a long day and was a long way from home.

Stan lost track of the woman after she left her car. The man in the next seat heaved himself up with a grunt and walked away. As he moved toward the door, Stan spotted the blond woman standing in the center of the shop, a coffee cup and muffin in her hands, looking desperately for a seat. Stan waved the woman over.

iced-underJulia

I smiled at the woman in gratitude and climbed onto the stool. It had been such an awful day, bringing one—no, two—no, three shocking revelations with it. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to drive straight home to Maine. But the GPS in Chris’s cab had taken me back a different way than it had brought me. When I drove into this town with its beautiful green and noticed the coffee shop, I realized I had to eat something if I was going to make it. I had to stop and pull myself together.

I noticed the woman next to me staring, eyebrows drawn together. Her blond hair was almost the same color as mine and pulled back with a hair band. She looked tired too. “Are you okay?” she asked.

Her concern caught me off guard and brought tears to my eyes. We New Englanders aren’t big on unburdening ourselves to strangers. But if I didn’t talk to someone soon about the strange events of the day, the strange events of the week, I might burst. “I’m driving home to Busman’s Harbor, Maine from Guilford,” I said.

“I know Guilford. Business or pleasure?” she asked.

“Murder,” I answered. Might as well go for it. “I went there to solve a murder.”

The woman’s eyes opened wide, but she didn’t recoil. In fact, she put a hand on my arm, in a gesture of comradeship. I couldn’t quite tell what she was thinking, but there was a look of. . .understanding on her face. Her acceptance made me plunge on. “A man was murdered in the walk-in refrigerator of the restaurant I run with my boyfriend,” I explained. I looked at her again, half expecting her to leave.

“Go on,” she said.

“That isn’t even the worst part. Since I moved back to my hometown to run my family’s clambake business, this is the fourth murder investigation I’ve been involved in.”

The woman reached into her bag and opened a full box of business cards. The smell of the printshop still clung to them. “Stan Connor,” she said, handing me a card. “I think we are going to be very good friends.”


Custom-Baked Murder is the fifth book in the Pawsitively Organic mystery series, published by Kensington, December 2016.

Kristan “Stan” Connor gladly turned tail on her high-flying job and moved to a quaint New England town to sell organic pet treats. But with her nose for solving murders, there’s no such thing as a quiet life. . .

Summer is winding down in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, but Stan’s love life and career are both heating up nicely. In between planning her new pet patisserie and café, Stan is settling into living-in-bliss with sexy pub owner Jake McGee. Love’s on the menu for Stan’s mom, Patricia, too, who’s engaged to Frog Ledge’s mayor, Tony Falco.

Mayor Falco’s dogged ambition isn’t popular among locals, but it’s his executive coach, Eleanor Chang, who’s inspired a dangerous grudge. When Eleanor is found dead, there’s a whole pack of suspects to choose from. Stan has first-hand experience of Eleanor’s unsavory business tactics. But finding out who forced her to take a fatal plunge off the corporate ladder means unearthing some shady secrets. . .and a killer who’s too close for comfort.

Iced Under is the fifth book in the Maine Clambake mystery series, published by Kensington, December 2016.

The snow is deep in Maine’s Busman’s Harbor and the mighty rivers are covered in ice. Snowden Family Clambake Company proprietor Julia Snowden and her mother, Jacqueline, are hunkered down for the winter when a mysterious package arrives—heating up February with an unexpected case of murder . . .

Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia’s great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s. Who could have sent it—and why? Julia’s search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother’s troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in “frozen water” to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline’s long-lost cousin Hugh—who’d been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother’s inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh’s demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all . . .

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About the authors
Liz Mugavero is the author of the Agatha Award-nominated Pawsitively Organic Mysteries Kneading to Die, A Biscuit, A Casket, The Icing on the Corpse and Murder Most Finicky. Custom-Baked Murder, the fifth in the series, was recently released in December 2016. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She currently lives in Connecticut.

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries, Clammed Up, Boiled Over, Musseled Out, Fogged Inn, and the latest, Iced Under. Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Her holiday novella featuring amateur sleuth Julia Snowden was published along with novellas by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis in Eggnog Murder from Kensington Books in October 2016.

Barbara blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors. Barbara writes on the big front porch of the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Iced Under by Barbara Ross

Iced Under by Barbara Ross is the fifth book in the “Maine Clambake” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, December 27, 2016

iced-underThe snow is deep in Maine’s Busman’s Harbor and the mighty rivers are covered in ice. Snowden Family Clambake Company proprietor Julia Snowden and her mother, Jacqueline, are hunkered down for the winter when a mysterious package arrives—heating up February with an unexpected case of murder . . .

Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia’s great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s. Who could have sent it—and why? Julia’s search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother’s troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in “frozen water” to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline’s long-lost cousin Hugh—who’d been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother’s inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh’s demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all . . .

Love, love, love this book. Everything about this book garnered my attention from the moment Julia learned about the necklace and her mother’s family history. To bring closure to the story, Julia traveled to Boston only to find herself yet involved in another murder investigation, and this time the suspects are her long-lost relatives. This brilliantly executed drama was staged perfectly and the narrative put me in the middle of all the action. The mystery kept me intrigued in all that was happening with the cast, from the death of cousin Hugh, to who sent the package, to who was trying to put the kibosh on family members and to why. I liked that with each turn of a chapter, I got to know more about the Morrows and watch the family dynamics play out as their exploits led to the person responsible. This is all happening as back home, the family is awaiting an arrival. The ending was priceless, leaving me with tears in my eyes and a warm-felt heart. With a great cast of characters and engaging conversation, this is the best book in this terrific series and I can’t wait for the next book with Julia and her friends.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

My Musing ~ Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross

Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross is an anthology celebrating Christmas in Maine. Publisher: Kensington, October 2016

Eggnog MurderWith the fireplace crackling, the tree twinkling, and the carols humming, few things in life are as picture perfect as Christmas in Maine—until murder dampens the holiday spirit. It must be something in the eggnog . . .

Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier
When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog—allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club—proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker’s Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who’s stirring up trouble.

Death By Eggnog by Lee Hollis
Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor’s grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal—and suspicious—allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it’s up to Hayley to ladle out some justice.

Nogged Off by Barbara Ross
Julia Snowden’s tenant Imogen Geinkes seems to be jinxed. First, her poorly named “Killer Eggnog” gives all her co-workers food poisoning at the holiday party, then her boyfriend’s body shows up in Julia’s moving truck as she’s headed back to Busman’s Harbor. Now Julia has to get moving to catch the cold-hearted culprit.

Cozy up with a glass of eggnog and enjoy the spirit of murder and mystery in a Yuletide treat perfect for those winter holidays . . .

The favorite holiday beverage becomes the catalyst for this collection of Christmas in Maine short stories where eggnog takes center stage in these murder mysteries. The narrative for all three stories were quite fetching where the intrigue of what’s happening played a pivotal role in the telling of these delightfully engaging tales. And those twists. . .superb! I enjoyed them all, but give kudos to Ross as I follow her Maine Clambake series and this was a great interlude while waiting for Iced Under.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) book from one of the authors.

Words from Gus Farnham by Barbara Ross

Fogged Inn“Jule-YA, there’s a dead guy in the walk-in.”

Howdy. My name is Gus Farnham, proprietor of Gus’s, an exclusive restaurant in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. I been here before and explained all that bit.

My days have been pretty much the same for the last fifty years. At five a.m., I take the pies made by my wife, Mrs. Gus, over t’ the restaurant and open’er up. Got to get an early start to feed breakfast to the lobstermen and fishermen. I turn on the lights, start the big coffee urn, and go into the walk-in refrigerator to get the ingredients to start the pancake batter.

A couple a days ago, I was minding my own business, following my routine, but when I switched on the light in the walk-in, there was a dead guy in there, staring up at me. Poor man had slipped his wind overnight.

Right away, I called up to my tenant, Julia Snowden, who lives in the apartment upstairs. She and her boyfriend Chris run my restaurant for suppah. Of course, Chris was up at Julia’s, too, sleeping over. I don’t much like it, but Mrs. Gus says I need to start living in this century, so I keep my mouth shut. I had to admit with the freezing fog, the roads had been mighty greasy the night before. Maybe it was best Chris didn’t go home.

Julia came running. She said the dead man had eaten in the restaurant that evening. Then the cops showed up, and the EMTs, and half the fire department. I told them they didn’t need to make such a fuss. The man was clearly dead. After that, our part-time local medical examiner arrived. She wouldn’t sign off on the cause of death, so the real state medical examiner came from Augusta, along with the state police, and all hell broke loose.

No one knows who the man is. Julia and Chris say he came in by himself, sat at the bar, and paid with cash. The cops say the man had no I.D., and the Snugg sisters over at the B&B where he was staying don’t know anymore than we do.

Julia says there weren’t many other people in the restaurant that night because of the weather, just four couples, who were all trapped there for hours by a bad car accident at the corner of Main and Main. She says none of them talked to the dead man, but she has a bee in her bonnet that they’re all related—the victim, the other diners, and the accident—though there is absolutely no proof of this at all.

I say Julia and Chris left the restaurant door unlocked and the man wandered into the walk-in and died. They swear the outside door was locked, but they’re young and careless. They’ve left it unlocked before, more than once, though they always deny it. And yet it was. Can’t argue with experience.

Julia is determined to figure out who the man was, how he died and who was involved. I don’t care who figures it out—Julia, the state cops, or the man in the moon. All I want is to get the crime scene tape off my walk-in, my restaurant opened up, and life back to normal.


Fogged Inn is the fourth book in the Maine Clambake mystery series, published by Kensington, February 2016.

An autumn chill has settled over Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden is warming up the town by offering lobster stew at the local diner. When her landlord discovers a dead body in the walk-in refrigerator, Julia must figure out who ordered up a side of murder.

Nothing’s colder than a corpse–especially one stashed inside a sub-zero fridge. The victim spent his last night on earth dining at the restaurant bar, so naturally Julia finds herself at the center of the ensuing investigation. Lost in the November fog, however, is who’d want to kill the unidentified stranger–and why. It might have something to do with a suspicious group of retirees and a decades-old tragedy to which they’re all connected. One thing’s for sure: Julia’s going to make solving this mystery her early bird special. . .

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All comments are welcomed.

About the author
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries, Clammed Up, Boiled Over and Musseled Out. Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. The fourth book in the series, Fogged Inn was published on February 23, 2016.

Barbara blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors.

Giveaway: Barbara is offering an autographed copy of Fogged Inn to two lucky commenters who comment below. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end March 3, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross

Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross is the fourth book in the Maine Clambake mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, February 2016

Fogged InnAn autumn chill has settled over Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden is warming up the town by offering lobster stew at the local diner. When her landlord discovers a dead body in the walk-in refrigerator, Julia must figure out who ordered up a side of murder.

Nothing’s colder than a corpse–especially one stashed inside a sub-zero fridge. The victim spent his last night on earth dining at the restaurant bar, so naturally Julia finds herself at the center of the ensuing investigation. Lost in the November fog, however, is who’d want to kill the unidentified stranger–and why. It might have something to do with a suspicious group of retirees and a decades-old tragedy to which they’re all connected. One thing’s for sure: Julia’s going to make solving this mystery her early bird special.

I love a book that grabs my attention and never let it go until that last page is turned, and that is what Fogged Inn did for me. I love the style that the story was told and the comfortable tone that made it easy to follow. The author presented an intriguing mystery where the direction the story headed kept me wondering how it was all going to play out. The set-up was brilliant and I wavered on who was behind the murder until that last moment when it all came together and it was nicely done. Julia was at her best in this light drama and it was also fun to see the other supporting cast. Every time I read a book in this series, I fall in love with Gus all over again. This is one of the best books in the series and I look forward to more adventures in Busman’s Harbor with Julia, Chris, Jamie and the gang.

My Musing ~ Edgar Allan Cozy edited by Sadie Hartwell

Edgar Allan Cozy: Wicked Short Stories is a collection of short stories and poems by Sheila Connolly, Sherry Harris, Sadie Hartwell, Edith Maxwell, Barbara Ross. Publisher: Wicked Cozy Press, January 2016

Edgar Allan CozyWhen cozy mystery writers meet Edgar Allan Poe, the result is Edgar Allan Cozy. Each story in this suspenseful new anthology is inspired by the work of Poe. “The Raven,” “The Lighthouse,” “MS. Found in a Bottle,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “Annabel Lee” have been updated and set in the fictional town of Raven Harbor, Maine. Edited by Sadie Hartwell.

This is a nice collection of poems and short stories culled from the likes of Edgar Allen Poe. I love the modern day homage to the Raven by Barbara Ross. Next up was a short story, echoing “nevermore” by Sherry Harris and I liked how it ended. As for the short story by Sheila Connelly, Edith Maxwell, and Sadie Hartwell . . . “love that twist.” And a fitting end to this collection is the poem by Sherry Harris. All six composites are excellent reads.

A Conversation With Chris Durand by Barbara Ross

Musseled OutHi. Chris Durand here.

I was born and brought up in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, the prettiest village on the Maine coast. Though most young people leave in search of more opportunity, I never have and I never plan to. Of course, I have to hustle like crazy in the summer to make ends meet, working three jobs–my landscaping business, driving my cab and as a bouncer in the town’s noisiest tourist bar. And I rent out my cabin to a summer family and move onto the Dark Lady, my antique sailboat.

This crazy summer was even more complicated. I fell in love. And I fell hard.

I remember Julia Snowden from Busman’s Harbor High. She was in eighth grade. I was a senior. Our lockers were next to each other. She had braces on her teeth and was skinny in all the wrong places. I was co-captain of the football team. She was so tongue-tied around me she could barely get the words out, but she always asked how I was doing and seemed genuinely interested in the answer. There was something about her, but I had a girlfriend, Julia was too young, and by the next year I had graduated and she was off to boarding school.

So imagine my surprise when I walked into Gus’s restaurant last March and there she was, all grown up. The braces were gone, and now she was skinny in all the right places and filled out in the rest. We started having lunch together twice a week and just like in high school, found we could really talk to one another. Julia was trying to save her family’s clambake business. She was living with her family, working with her family and socializing with her family. There were times when they drove her crazy. I think I was the only person she could talk to about it.

Before we knew it, the season took off and we were working eighteen-hour days, but we did manage to squeeze in some time in together. On top of running the Snowden Family Clambake, Julia solved two murders this summer. She says she simply aided the police with their inquiries, but, in my book, she prevented two innocent people from spending their lives in prison. One of them was me. She’s the smartest, most determined, most honest person I know.

The first time I told her I loved her, she pretended she didn’t hear me. The second time, she took a phone call from a murder suspect right after I said it. It’s ironic after all these years of trying to avoid unwanted entanglements, I’m the one left hanging. What goes around comes around.

I know Julia loves me. But she worries about whether she can make a life in little Busman’s Harbor. She worries about how enmeshed she is with her family, and how that might eventually turn me off. The truth is, I love her relationship with her family, even my former buddy, her pain-in-the-neck brother-in-law. My parents have moved to Florida and my sister’s in southern California. There’s a reason we’re all in opposite corners of the country. I haven’t told Julia about that yet. Her love and her loyalty is part of what attracts me.

There’s another issue, too. My job. Not the landscaping or the cab or the bouncing. The other job–where I go off for days at a time on my sailboat. I can’t tell anyone I’m leaving. I can’t say where I’ve been and I can’t say no. I know she worries I’m doing something dangerous or illegal or both. I’ve proposed a compromise. I quit doing it and we treat it like an old lover, something in the past not to be discussed.

I can tell she wants to get past it. She’s trying and I have to give her credit for that. It’s fall now, and we all have more time. Maybe, if I’m patient enough, she’ll come around, leave the past in the past, and make a life here in Busman’s Harbor with me. Maybe.


You can read more about Chris in Musseled Out, the third book in the “Maine Clambake” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are Clammed Up and Boiled Over.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 6 for the chance to win a copy of Musseled Out. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Boiled Over was published in 2014, and Musseled Out came out in April, 2015.

Barbara blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors. She and her husband own the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where she writes her Maine coast mysteries. Her website is www.maineclambakemysteries.com. You can like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

My Musing ~ Musseled Out by Barbara Ross

Musseled OutMusseled Out by Barbara Ross is the third book in the “Maine Clambake” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, April 2015

The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble simmering for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwing–the “Mussel King” of upscale seafood restaurants–is sniffing around town for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to be the least of his troubles.

When Thwing is found sleeping with the fishes beneath a local lobsterman’s boat, the police quickly finger Julia’s brother-in-law Sonny as the one who cooked up the crime. Sure, everyone knows Sonny despised the Mussel King. . .but Julia believes he’s innocent. Proving it won’t be easy, though. It seems there’s a lot more than murder on the menu, and Julia needs to act fast.

I love this book. Julia is on the case when her brother-in-law is implicated in a murder and in the pursuit of justice, Julia learns more about her family, her friends and herself.

I love how the author uses the narrative to let me visually see the town and the people of Busman’s Harbor from Gus’ restaurant, from Morrow Island, the multi-use police building, the fresh salty air and just walking the streets in the small town. I so want to visit this coastal town. The author did a great job in serving up multiple mysteries that grabbed my attention and kept it going until the last page was turned. This fast-paced drama had me caught up in all the action and it was fun watching it all come together, especially with that surprising twist that I did not see coming. Boasting an eclectic cast of characters, good conversation and a small town feel, this is my favorite book in the series. I really like the direction this story is taking and I’m looking forward to more exciting new adventures with Julia and her friends in this delightfully charming series.

Thank you, Barbara, for the appearance of my name in the acknowledgment section.

A Day in the Life of Gus Farnham by Barbara Ross

Boiled OverI’m Gus Farnham, owner of a restaurant here in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. My restaurant is for local folks, a place where they can get away from playing the “old salt” routine for the terrorists. I mean the tourists.

I started the restaurant with my wife, Mrs. Gus, in 1962 and the menu hasn’t changed a jot since. Some wag in town has tacked paper signs to the restaurant walls. Here’s what two of them say:

GUS DOESN’T SERVE HORS D’OEUVRES. HE DOESN’T BELIEVE YOU NEED FOOD WHILE WAITING FOR FOOD.

And,

YOU CAN ASK GUS FOR SALAD. YOU’LL NEVER GET IT, BUT YOU CAN ASK FOR IT.

People say the customer is always right. They never met some of the people who wander in here.

Lately, Julia Snowden’s been coming around asking me about the history of the harbor, and who Mr. Busman was and such. Julia was born here which makes her okay in my book, but then went off to school and worked in New York for almost a decade, so she has some funny notions. Now she’s back in town, working at her family’s business, the Snowden Family Clambake Company, while helping out on the Founder’s Day committee.

“Gus, tell me who our founder was?” she asked.

“Which time?” I answered.

“Which time what?” Julia said.

“The first founder of Busman’s Harbor was a Wabanaki Chief. The Wabanaki tribes called this land Ketakamigwa, ‘the big land on the seacoast.’ They came here seasonally and farmed, fished, lobstered and traded with other tribes, and eventually with the French.”

“And this founding chief’s name wasn’t, by any chance, Mr. Busman?” Julia asked, hoping, I could tell, for a shortcut.

“Alas, his name’s been lost to the misty dawns of time.” I poured her a cup of coffee. You can’t have people sitting around for hours yakking and not buying. “The first European settlers were fishermen,” I continued. “In those days for cod to be sent home to England, it had to be dried on wooden racks. There was fierce competition by the fishing crews for the best areas for drying operations, and it didn’t take long for captains to figure out that if they left a small group of men over the winter, they’d have a huge advantage come the spring.”

“When was this?”

“1615.”

“Before the Pilgrims?” Julia clarified.

“Definitely. Those Massachusetts-come-latelies are always claiming the credit.”

“These fishermen, was one of them was named Busman?” Julia prompted.

“Not too many auto-buses in the early seventeenth century,” I reminded her.

“Maybe he was French?” I could tell Julia was getting a little desperate. “Bisou man? Perhaps a bit of a kisser? I’m sure it got lonely staying all winter.”

“Ha, ha,” I said. “By the way your French is terrible.”

“Gus, seriously. I need to know for the Founder’s Day celebration.”

I looked at my wristwatch, the one my dad gave me when I got out of the Army. “Oh, will you look at the time. Mrs. Gus will be wondering what happened to me.”

“Gus! Who was Mr. Busman?

“Sorry, Julia. Looks like you’re going to have come back another time to get the rest of the story.”


You can read more about Gus in Boiled Over, the second book in the “Maine Clambake” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Clammed Up. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY
Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on May 19, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of BOILED OVER. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mystery series. Clammed Up (Kensington, Sept 2013) was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel as well as the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth. Boiled Over was published on May 6, 2014.

Barbara is a co-editor/co-publisher at Level Best Books, which produces an award-winning anthology of crime and mystery stories by New England authors every November. “Bread Baby” in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Short Story.

Barbara blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Barbara and her husband Bill divide their time between Somerville, MA and Boothbay Harbor, ME.


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