Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fogged Inn (A Maine Clambake Mystery #4), by Barbara Ross (author), Dara Rosenberg (narrator)

Audible Studios, March 2016

Julia Snowden has been back in her home town of Bushman's Harbor, Maine, since March now. Her family's clambake business is closed down for the winter, of course, but she and her boyfriend, Chris, are running a dinner restaurant. On the Monday morning following the Thanksgiving weekend, their landlord, Gus (who runs a breakfast and lunch establishment in the same space), wakes them with the news that he's found a body in the walk-in freezer.

A man's body. The only guest the previous night whom no one knew.

The restaurant's guests the night of the death were at first glance nothing very unusual--four couples who had introductory gift certificates for the restaurant. What is strange is that all the gift certificates have an expiration date of that Sunday. Julia didn't put expiration dates on the gift certificates; that's illegal in Maine.

A search through her records shows that these four certificates plus one other were bought together, by mail.

The police conclude that the stranger was murdered, and Julia concludes that someone intentionally gathered those four couples at her restaurant that night. The police investigate the death; Julia, over their objections, investigates the strange matter of the gift certificates, convinced that there's a connection.

Overall, I liked this quite a bit. Julia and Chris are very likable, and if some characters look a bit cardboard at first, over the course of the story, they increasingly show depth and complexity. It is, in the end, a very humane story. Unfortunately, there is that early bit of cardboard, making it a little harder to get into initially. Julia, an intelligent character, at one point repeats a stupid mistake for no real reason except the plot requires it.

Flawed, but enjoyable

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audible in exchange for an honest review.

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