A Maine harbor town and clamming community is rocked by a new resident bent on upholding private property over community interests.
Bartholomew Frick, the grandnephew of beloved and recently deceased Busman’s Harbor elder Lou Herrickson, has inherited not just the Herrickson House, but also the surrounding beachfront land on Herrickson Point. The newbie hardly ingratiates himself when he makes a literal boatload of townspeople wait aboard the Jacquie II while he moves his flashy new sports car off the town pier in search of a legal parking spot before climbing aboard for a memorial to his aunt. Local clammers in the community-focused little town are aghast when Bartholomew erects a fence to make the formerly public beach private. It’s been traditional for them to dig at the beach, and Lou would never have wanted to keep people out. Though she’s not a clammer herself, Julia Snowden’s family clambake will be at risk if she can’t get her hands on a bivalve supply, so she goes to the mansion to talk some sense into Bartholomew. After an unproductive exchange, Julia isn’t sure about her next steps. Luckily, she doesn’t have long to ponder before the police alert her that Bartholomew’s been killed. While his departure may solve the clam supply problem, Julia was on the scene too recently to the murder for police to rule her out as a suspect, though they’ve tangled with her enough in the past to fear that she may decide to “help” with the investigation (Stowed Away, 2017, etc.). Julia’s indeed too curious not to nose around, particularly because Lou’s longtime live-in help, Ida Fischer, is likely to be accused, and Julia’s certain that Ida’s innocent, though she’ll have to find the real murderer to convince the police.
Sure to appeal to readers who treasure the Maine coast, Ross’ latest continues the lives and minor dramas of her fictionalized version of Boothbay Harbor with amiable characters and minimal fuss.