FOGGED INN by Barbara Ross Reviewed
It’s late autumn in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the Snowden Family Clambake is closed until spring. To help make ends meet during the off-season, Julia Snowden and her boyfriend, Chris Durand, are doing dinner service out of Gus’ diner. Everything is going swimmingly—until Gus opens up one morning and finds a corpse in the walk-in. Chris and Julia recognize the deceased as a customer of theirs from the previous evening, but neither of them caught the man’s name and both are certain he left before they locked up. Who is he? Who killed him? And how did his body end up in their fridge? The police launch an investigation, but as usual, Julia can’t resist doing some digging of her own.
Fogged Inn, the fourth of Barbara Ross’ fabulous Maine Clambake Mysteries, is a cleverly crafted, character-driven whodunit that engages readers both intellectually and emotionally. The pace is swift, the dialogue is sharp, and Ross’ artful prose evokes a strong sense of place and brings her characters to life. Like all cozy heroines, Julia is smart and strong, but she’s also refreshingly fallible—never more so than in this book. Her relationship with Chris is romantic without being saccharine and complements the plot rather than eclipsing it. While there’s no denying Chris’ perfection as a partner, he’s also a compelling character in his own right. Gus continues to be my favorite fictional curmudgeon. And every single one of Julia’s suspects is vividly sketched and fully fleshed, adding complexity and verisimilitude to an already stellar mystery. A must-read for any self-respecting cozy fan.
-Katrina Niidas Holm