Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Hidden Beneath Maine Waters

 A Maine Clambake Mystery #11
 Barbara Ross
 Kensington Books
 June 27, 2023

I'm always delighted when a new book is published from one of my favorite "set-in-Maine" series. As someone who visits Maine regularly, it is one of my preferred places on earth, winter or summer, following the stories of the Snowden Family Clambake. After living away from Maine for years, Julia, the eldest daughter, has returned after her father's death to help save the Clambake from bankruptcy. Julia has had many ups and downs, both business and personal, but now the Clambake is stable. As is Julia, even though she is still hurting from her decision to end the relationship with Chris, the man she thought was her life's love.

Hidden Beneath centers on her mother, Jacqueline, and her relationship with other teenage girls years before on Chipmunk Island, an island nearby. Chipmunk is home to a summer colony of wealthy families who only mix a little with Busman's Harbor residents. One of the girls, Ginny, now middle-aged women, had gone missing five years earlier and had been declared dead. Jacqueline asked Julia to accompany her to Ginny's memorial even though the summer season was just starting. There are unusual overtones at the event, and when Jacqueline visits Ginny's cottage, she finds that furniture has been moved and walls have been painted over. The women who were friends years ago are looking for Ginny's missing will. When it is found, Jacqueline learns that she has been named executor. She is astonished because she has only seen Ginny in passing for years. But, being Jacqueline, she is determined to get to the bottom of the riddle of Ginny's disappearance and needs Julia to help.

The mystery of Ginny's disappearance and all the events leading up to it is a twisty tale that kept me guessing. The main attraction of the series for me are the characters and settings, all familiar to me. Having a mystery to try to solve is a big plus. This time I failed and was also blindsided by a possible new romance for Julia from an unexpected quarter! Thanks to NetGalley.com and Kensington Books for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING-4.5 Stars

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