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Muddled Through

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Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman's Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case . . . When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman's Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case . . . When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she races over. Her sister Livvie works there as a potter. Livvie is unharmed but surrounded by smashed up pottery. The police find the owner Zoey Butterfield digging clay by a nearby bay, but she has no idea who would target her store. Zoey is a vocal advocate for turning four blocks of Main Street into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. Other shop owners, including her next-door neighbor, are vehemently opposed. Could a small-town fight provoke such destruction? When a murder follows the break-in, it's up to Julia to dig through the secrets and lies to uncover the truth . . .


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Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman's Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case . . . When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman's Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case . . . When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she races over. Her sister Livvie works there as a potter. Livvie is unharmed but surrounded by smashed up pottery. The police find the owner Zoey Butterfield digging clay by a nearby bay, but she has no idea who would target her store. Zoey is a vocal advocate for turning four blocks of Main Street into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. Other shop owners, including her next-door neighbor, are vehemently opposed. Could a small-town fight provoke such destruction? When a murder follows the break-in, it's up to Julia to dig through the secrets and lies to uncover the truth . . .

30 review for Muddled Through

  1. 4 out of 5

    James

    Muddled Through is the 10th book in the Maine Clambake Mysteries written by Barbara Ross. I've previously finished all the earlier books in the series and enjoy these cozies because they are set in Maine, my future home (wishing for it!). Protagonist Julia Snowden returned home several years ago after a stint in NYC working in the financial sector, but now she runs her family's summer clambake business. Since the last book, she ended a relationship and moved back to her mom's to start fresh. Whe Muddled Through is the 10th book in the Maine Clambake Mysteries written by Barbara Ross. I've previously finished all the earlier books in the series and enjoy these cozies because they are set in Maine, my future home (wishing for it!). Protagonist Julia Snowden returned home several years ago after a stint in NYC working in the financial sector, but now she runs her family's summer clambake business. Since the last book, she ended a relationship and moved back to her mom's to start fresh. When her sister finds a pottery shop trashed, Julia befriends the owner, Zoey, who helps her figure out how to move on again. But when the owner of the business next door (with whom Zoey often fought) is found murdered in their jointly-owned basement, Zoey's in trouble. Especially given she's hidden some of her connections to the town. Why would someone want to kill the elderly man? Or was he not the intended victim? Julia snuffs out the truth and finds herself trapped with the killer in a near-death scene. Ross captivated my attention like a true thriller in that chapter, and I was so glad to see the ending come together. But now Julia is moving in a new direction and possibly considering dating another character... exciting times for the upcoming books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    Spring usually means that Julia Snowden is trying to get ready for the busy season with her family’s clambake, but this year, she is being distracted by local politics. Specifically, there is the heated debate in town about turning the downtown area into a pedestrian mall on Friday and Saturday nights during the tourist season. On opposite sides of the issue are business neighbors Zoey Butterfield, who owns the pottery story where Julia’s sister works, and Phinney Hardison. When Zoey’s story is Spring usually means that Julia Snowden is trying to get ready for the busy season with her family’s clambake, but this year, she is being distracted by local politics. Specifically, there is the heated debate in town about turning the downtown area into a pedestrian mall on Friday and Saturday nights during the tourist season. On opposite sides of the issue are business neighbors Zoey Butterfield, who owns the pottery story where Julia’s sister works, and Phinney Hardison. When Zoey’s story is vandalized, the only motive she can think of is this controversy. Then a dead body is found. Is local politics the motive for the violence? Or is something else going on? I’ve been anxiously waiting for this book since the last one came out. Yes, we do get to the storylines left open from the previous book, and I was actually impressed with the growth in Julia that came out of them. Of course, the book left me wondering where we were going to go next, but that’s a good thing. Yes, if you are new to the series, you could jump in here, but you’ll appreciate the growth better if you’ve read the earlier books. This is such a great series you’ll be glad you did. As always, Julia leads a great cast of new and returning characters, and I loved spending time with them. The mystery for this book is strong, and I was once again amazed at how everything was plotted when I reached the end. Fans will be happy with this book. If that isn’t you, fix that today. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Morin

    Muddled Through is the tenth book in this series by Barbara Ross. The series focuses on Julia Snowden and her family's famous clam bake business. Julia has ended a long term relationship and she's trying keep her emotions in check. Livvie is her sister, who happens to work for a pottery business that was vandalized. Things get worse when an grumpy curmudgeon is found dead in the basement of the pottery shop. The owner, Zoey, is a truly wonderful character and I hope she becomes an important part of Muddled Through is the tenth book in this series by Barbara Ross. The series focuses on Julia Snowden and her family's famous clam bake business. Julia has ended a long term relationship and she's trying keep her emotions in check. Livvie is her sister, who happens to work for a pottery business that was vandalized. Things get worse when an grumpy curmudgeon is found dead in the basement of the pottery shop. The owner, Zoey, is a truly wonderful character and I hope she becomes an important part of the cast in this series. Julia is good at talking to people and her insight into this mystery was well told. I had no idea who the murderer was, I was shocked to the core. I'm excited to see where this story goes, and I hope Julia realizes who the police officer is who is sweet on her. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for selecting me to read an advanced copy of this book. I look forward to recommending it to others. #MuddledThrough #NetGalley

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cozy Reads

    Maine Clambake mystery is one of my favorite series. The ending of Shucked Apart (book #9) left me emotional and eagerly awaiting book 10. I was beyond excited to visit Busman’s Harbor, Maine again to catch up with Julia Snowden and the town. In Muddled Through it is currently spring and the off season for the clambake business. A town pottery shop has been vandalized and the town is in a heated debate whether a “pedestrian mall” should be added to Main Street during summer months. After a tow Maine Clambake mystery is one of my favorite series. The ending of Shucked Apart (book #9) left me emotional and eagerly awaiting book 10. I was beyond excited to visit Busman’s Harbor, Maine again to catch up with Julia Snowden and the town. In Muddled Through it is currently spring and the off season for the clambake business. A town pottery shop has been vandalized and the town is in a heated debate whether a “pedestrian mall” should be added to Main Street during summer months. After a town council meeting someone opposing the pedestrian mall is found Murdered. Julia Snowden is on the case to help solve the murder. I really enjoyed the scenes of Julia’s personal life, I have grown so attached to her over the years. The cozy and detailed writing of Barbara Ross makes me happy and her characters come alive while I read. I wasn’t a fan of the mystery in the first half of the book but then it got more interesting and I became invested. This series holds a special place in my heart and it’s always nice to come visit Busman’s Harbor. - Netgalley and Kensington have provided me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Muddled Through by Barbara Ross takes us back to Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Julia Snowden finds herself embroiled in another mystery courtesy of her sister, Livvie. Livvie works at Lupine Designs owned by Zoey Butterfield in the off season. Zoey is a potter who makes beautiful plates, cups, bowls, platters, and other related items. Julia gets a frantic call from her sister. She rushes down to the shop to find the place destroyed. Someone managed to get into the shop in the early hours and destroy t Muddled Through by Barbara Ross takes us back to Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Julia Snowden finds herself embroiled in another mystery courtesy of her sister, Livvie. Livvie works at Lupine Designs owned by Zoey Butterfield in the off season. Zoey is a potter who makes beautiful plates, cups, bowls, platters, and other related items. Julia gets a frantic call from her sister. She rushes down to the shop to find the place destroyed. Someone managed to get into the shop in the early hours and destroy the store’s inventory. Zoey had been out collecting clay, so she was no in her apartment above the shop. The day after a raucous town meeting, Phinney Hardison is found dead in the basement of Lupine Design. Zoey is the prime suspect since it is her shop, she had access, and she had an altercation with the victim at the town meeting the previous evening. Zoey and Phinney were on opposite sides of pedestrian mall matter. Livvie asks Julia to investigate and prove Zoey’s innocence. Julia has her work cut out for on this case. Muddled Through is the tenth A Maine Clambake Mystery. It can be read as a standalone since the necessary background information is provided. Barbara Ross has a casual writing style. It is friendly and engaging. It makes her stories easy to read. Julia Snowden is single after parting ways with Chris Durand. She has returned to her mother’s home since Gus needed Julia’s apartment for family. It is spring in Maine which means it is the muddy season. The mud and rain make it difficult to get around. You need to have sturdy wellies if you are going to be out and about. The town is in an uproar over the proposed pedestrian mall. Four blocks of Main Street would be blocked to road traffic on Friday and Saturday evening during July and August. Shops could set out their wares and restaurants could offer outdoor dining (a street festival vibe). Zoey Butterfield, a local potter and store owner, is in favor of the pedestrian mall. Phinney Hardison is not in favor of the mall or tourists. He still considers Zoey a flatlander. Phinney is found dead in Zoey’s basement which leads to a major investigation. Julia is a curious person by nature. She likes to know the answers, so it does not take much persuasion to convince her to look into the crime. Julia asks questions, looks up information online, and searches for clues. The mystery becomes interesting in the second half of the book. I enjoyed following Julia as she gathered intel. I love solving whodunits. I had an inkling as to why a certain person committed the crime, but I was not completely sure until Julia uncovered the final clue. The reveal is suspenseful and suits the series. Julia is still trying to get over Chris Durand. Zoey gives her some good advice. It looks like there is a potential love interest or two for Julia (when she is ready). I enjoy the author’s descriptions of Maine. It sounds like a beautiful area. I liked meeting Alice Rumsford (a local philanthropist). I hope we get to see more of her in the future. Muddled Through is a wicked fun time with messy mud, pulverized pottery, ardent debating, mall melee, a slain neighbor, key conundrum, a brilliant breakthrough, and a questioning Julia.

  6. 4 out of 5

    LORI CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts We arrive in Busman’s Harbor, Maine just in time for Mud Season and a local fight about a new pedestrian mall. Most of the people who have lived there forever have no interest is the mall or change in general. Newcomer Zoey Butterfield is in favor of the project and that could be the reason her pottery store Lupine Design was vandalized. Because Julia’s sister Livvie works at the shop she pitches in to help clean up the place after the police give them the go ahead. But it goi Dollycas’s Thoughts We arrive in Busman’s Harbor, Maine just in time for Mud Season and a local fight about a new pedestrian mall. Most of the people who have lived there forever have no interest is the mall or change in general. Newcomer Zoey Butterfield is in favor of the project and that could be the reason her pottery store Lupine Design was vandalized. Because Julia’s sister Livvie works at the shop she pitches in to help clean up the place after the police give them the go ahead. But it going to take a little longer to clean up the mess that a murder leaves behind. Zoey is high on the suspect list. To help her new friend Julia decides she is the one that can get to the truth but she could get killed before she unties the final knot of clues. With the clambakes not starting for a while, our protagonist is spending time on Morrow Island at the family estate overseeing the renovations and making some fun choices. That leaves her plenty of time to help get Zoey out of the mess she finds herself in. Zoey and Julia seem to become fast friends and I liked that. I hope we see Zoey in future books. Chris, on the other hand, I am done with him. Julia still finds it hard to see him and she needs to move on and out of her mother’s house. She is a strong woman who seems to be able to accomplish anything she puts her mind to and that is why she is one of my favorite cozy characters. Ms. Ross has put forth another complex mystery. Secret, lies, twists, turns, all had the pages rapidly turning. A local philanthropist adds some interesting answers that lead Julia to go over everything she had compiled in her investigation. She comes up with a new theory and runs with it. That running takes her into a very scary situation that had me creeping right up to the edge of my seat. My “Aha Moment” coincided with Julia. I do love it when that happens because that means I fell for everything the author wanted me to. Mud Season in Maine is probably not the optimal time to visit but it did make for some interesting and some very funny scenes as we Muddled Through the story. Muddled Through was A Perfect Escape! Great characters, a plot that kept me on my toes, and plenty of MUD. By the end of the book, the clambakes are starting but Julia’s life is still in flux. I am excited to return to Busman’s Harbor to see what Barbara Ross has in store for her wonderful characters next.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    For the first time in about 37 years, I'm not going up to Boothbay Harbor, oops, I mean, Busman's Harbor. So this book will have to do. It does bring the place very much to life and I can picture so many of the places that she describes. It is always fun to visit with the characters in this book and it is no different this time. I enjoy seeing what the characters do and how they make ends meet during the off-seasons. Julia actually makes a friend in this book who isn't related to her family or so For the first time in about 37 years, I'm not going up to Boothbay Harbor, oops, I mean, Busman's Harbor. So this book will have to do. It does bring the place very much to life and I can picture so many of the places that she describes. It is always fun to visit with the characters in this book and it is no different this time. I enjoy seeing what the characters do and how they make ends meet during the off-seasons. Julia actually makes a friend in this book who isn't related to her family or someone she grew up living next to. I was also very satisfied on how Julia really looked at her relationship with Chris (which ended a few books ago) to put it in perspective and maybe be able to move on. After all one of the reason people read cozy series is to read about the same characters and their lives. Overall, a satisfying and fairly typical cozy. I will be back for more.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Well, this was an interesting story with some twists and turns. The way some folk’s minds work is often a mystery to others. Course that does keep you reading to see what is going to happen next. The storyline and the characters are great. I really liked the way Julia and Zoey grew in their relationship. I would really like to attend the Snowden Family Clambake! A trip to Lupine Designs would be a must also. I received this book from NetGalley, but my opinion is my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)

    Julia Snowden helps her family run the Snowden Family Clambake in later spring and summer, when it's warm enough to go out to Morrow Island, which they own. But during the winter and early spring, she's at a loss. Having recently broken up with her long-time boyfriend Chris and moved back home with her mother, she's lonely and wondering how to fill her days. One morning she sees police cars in front of Lupine Designs, where her sister Livvie works in the off-season, and hopes she's alright. When Julia Snowden helps her family run the Snowden Family Clambake in later spring and summer, when it's warm enough to go out to Morrow Island, which they own. But during the winter and early spring, she's at a loss. Having recently broken up with her long-time boyfriend Chris and moved back home with her mother, she's lonely and wondering how to fill her days. One morning she sees police cars in front of Lupine Designs, where her sister Livvie works in the off-season, and hopes she's alright. When she arrives, Livvie is fine, but someone has broken into the pottery shop and destroyed everything in view. When the owner, Zoey Butterfield, arrives, she has no idea who would vandalize her shop...unless it might be her neighbor Finney, who shares part of the building as an antique store and dislikes Zoey. But there's no proof, so Zoey is stumped. Later that evening Julia attends a town meeting where Zoey is in favor of a pedestrian mall on the weekends to bring in more business, but many of the townspeople are against it. This only agitates the problems between Zoey and her neighbors. When, soon after, a body is found in Zoey's basement, the state police -- Lieutenant Binder and Sergeant Flynn -- think Zoey is a prime suspect, and Livvie asks for Julia's help in proving her innocence. But Julia will need more to go on, since she knows next-to-nothing about Zoey. Where is she from? Who are her people? What motives did she have? And more importantly, did she do it? On top of this, everyone -- including Julia -- is wondering where her personal life is going now that Chris isn't in her life anymore. It's obvious there are some men interested in her, but will Julia go down that path, or put it on the back burner for now? And will she discover who the murderer might be before it's too late for another person?... This is the tenth book in the series, and I have read them all, looking forward to each one with practical glee. Each book gets better than the former, and this one is no different. Julia is on her own this time out, without Chris in her life, and her family wants to help her -- even if she doesn't want it. When the murder occurs, it's only natural that Julia's innate curiosity -- and cleverness -- get her moving in on the investigation. By this time Binder and Flynn have given up telling her to leave it alone, knowing she isn't going to, but aren't giving her information without anything in return, either. A quid pro quo situation, if you will. So we have Julia trying to find out more about the elusive Zoey Butterfield, who doesn't appear to be letting the murder bother her; staying calm and collected. Julia wonders why this is so, and starts digging into Zoey's past, with surprising results. She also does her best at quietly questioning people who might have known the deceased well, with more surprising results coming from that quarter, too. But what starts out as a murder investigation becomes much more so, with threads scattered throughout the mystery, and each one leading to another until we have a tangle of them, all sizes and shapes, that need to be pulled out and woven into something resembling answers. Julia is an expert at this, and it's fun watching her put everything together in only the way she can. I absolutely adore this series, and all the characters within. There are some surprising things around the corner for Julia, too; and I won't say any more about this except that I think it will be something worth waiting for in the next book. When the murderer is discovered, the motive is both rather twisted and sad, and is never worth the price that one has to pay. I eagerly look forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended. I received an advance copy from the publisher and NetGalley but this in no way influenced my review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Luis Nunez Bernucci

    BOOK REVIEW FOR MUDDLED THROUGH BY BARBARA ROSS I had been excitedly anticipating this book since August of last year (2021) when SCARED OFF, the last novella about the Maine Clambake Mysteries by author Barbara Ross was published in the anthology HALLOWEEN PARTY MURDER. The wait and anticipation were well worth it, as I expected. MUDDLED THROUGH’s protagonist Julia Snowden continues to thrill with a new cozy mystery happening in the small town of Busman’s Harbor (I really would like to move there BOOK REVIEW FOR MUDDLED THROUGH BY BARBARA ROSS I had been excitedly anticipating this book since August of last year (2021) when SCARED OFF, the last novella about the Maine Clambake Mysteries by author Barbara Ross was published in the anthology HALLOWEEN PARTY MURDER. The wait and anticipation were well worth it, as I expected. MUDDLED THROUGH’s protagonist Julia Snowden continues to thrill with a new cozy mystery happening in the small town of Busman’s Harbor (I really would like to move there and get to know all its citizens like Gus and the Snuggles sisters who own the Snuggles Inn, plus Julia’s family and supporting cast, who by now feel like old friends. I read only cozies, and I must say that Barbara Ross’ writing is smooth and intriguing, and never tries to trick the reader with “red herrings”. While reading book #10 I felt at home again, following the ingenious and intricate plot and getting to know the new characters associated with the new tragedy in town. Barbara is brilliant at making her characters come alive, and she gets us involved in the plot right from the start. The other characteristic of Barbara’s outstanding writing skills is the fact that in every book she weaves a learning element for the reader…this time we learn all about Maine’s clay and pottery. Congratulations on doing so much research to teach us about so many aspects of life in Maine, and educating us as we try to sleuth along with Julia. Julia and I did not guess whodunnit until it was revealed, and it was a surprise, especially since I had placed blame on just about everyone…and I was wrong. Barbara does that every time, and it is wonderful how she does it! I could not put the book down, and was ever so sorry when it ended, because now I have to wait an immensely long time before the next gourmet treat comes out of Barbara’s oven… There is another gripping story happening in these books, which is Juila’s love life. I reserve my comments about that, because all of us readers of this series want to know how that is developing. I won’t address what happens in this book to avoid spoilers, but Barbara already knows how my book club and I feel about that. All I can say is that you will be trying to figure that out until the very last page, so have fun with that! I received an advance copy of this book, and I feel so blessed to be able to share my comments about this awesome book. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your writing talents with us happy readers!

  11. 4 out of 5

    K.A. Davis

    MUDDLED THROUGH by Barbara Ross is the tenth book in the Maine Clambake Mysteries. A long-time fan of this delightful series, I eagerly await with anticipation to find out what feature of Maine the author will reveal for the new release. In this newest addition, it’s mud season and I enjoyed the skillful way the theme was woven into the storyline. Of course, the setting of Maine isn’t the only thing that brings me back again and again to the series. With strong characters, unique settings, and t MUDDLED THROUGH by Barbara Ross is the tenth book in the Maine Clambake Mysteries. A long-time fan of this delightful series, I eagerly await with anticipation to find out what feature of Maine the author will reveal for the new release. In this newest addition, it’s mud season and I enjoyed the skillful way the theme was woven into the storyline. Of course, the setting of Maine isn’t the only thing that brings me back again and again to the series. With strong characters, unique settings, and tightly plotted mysteries, Ms. Ross continues to be a fan favorite. If you’re new to the series, you can read this as a standalone, but trust me, you’ll greatly enjoy starting at the beginning and following the journey of protagonist Julia Snowden, along with her family and friends. Julia is a strong young woman, but with the last book, life has thrown some challenges at her with the demise of her relationship to Chris, and losing both her apartment and her winter job running a supper restaurant. She’s still trying to figure things out but, in the meantime, murder strikes Busman’s Harbor again, this time affecting her sister, Livvie’s boss and friend, Zoey. The action starts right from the very first page and continues with plenty of intriguing suspects. I appreciate the loyalty Julia shows to both Livvie and Zoey, despite circumstances and clues pointing at Zoey’s guilt over the death of her cantankerous shop neighbor. Thrown into the mix is a controversial pedestrian mall that is dividing the town. As Julia hunts for clues and talks to townspeople, it becomes apparent there are several people hiding secrets, including the prime suspect, Zoey. With a fast-paced plot, I quickly turned the pages to find out what happened next and with an edge-of-your-seat reveal I didn’t see coming, the threads of the story wrapped up into a memorable read. As with previous books, there are recipes included that showcase the flavors of Maine and/or have a family connection to the author. I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Taryn

    Julia's sister works at Lupine Design so when she sees several police cars in front of the shop early one morning she runs to make sure Livvie is okay. Someone has broken into the shop and smashed up all the pottery. The owner close by digging for clay and is shocked when she finds out about her shop. Her neighbor shop owner doesn't like her so he is a likely suspect but there is also the on going argument over putting g in a pedestrian mall. When her neighbor shop owner is found.dead in their s Julia's sister works at Lupine Design so when she sees several police cars in front of the shop early one morning she runs to make sure Livvie is okay. Someone has broken into the shop and smashed up all the pottery. The owner close by digging for clay and is shocked when she finds out about her shop. Her neighbor shop owner doesn't like her so he is a likely suspect but there is also the on going argument over putting g in a pedestrian mall. When her neighbor shop owner is found.dead in their shared basement Zoey immediately becomes the main suspect. Livvie asks Julia to look into the murder she doesn't believe her boss is guilty. Julia agrees to help and starts asking questions. She begins to Learn quite a bit about the dead man and not all.of it's good. Join Julia in her search for the truth, will she find a killer or will Zoey end up behind bars?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Great book! It was fun being back in Busman's Harbor, and seeing all the characters from prior books in this series!! And the premise of the murder was interesting. I will admit that while I was trying to guess the murderer, I was completely off base. And then there's the puzzle of which of the guys in this book are a good match for Julia. I can't wait for the next one to (maybe) find out!! Great book! It was fun being back in Busman's Harbor, and seeing all the characters from prior books in this series!! And the premise of the murder was interesting. I will admit that while I was trying to guess the murderer, I was completely off base. And then there's the puzzle of which of the guys in this book are a good match for Julia. I can't wait for the next one to (maybe) find out!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aileen F.

    Muddled Through deserves a sky full of stars! Muddled Through is a cozy mystery that ticks all the boxes. I’ve read all of Barbara Ross’s books, and this is the very best. I love this series, but I have not figured out what makes this one so special, except it is perfect in every way, and I marveled about it all through the book! Muddled Through’s plot and subplots, the character development, dialogue, the descriptions of Maine in the spring and other local color, the flow, the pacing - everythin Muddled Through deserves a sky full of stars! Muddled Through is a cozy mystery that ticks all the boxes. I’ve read all of Barbara Ross’s books, and this is the very best. I love this series, but I have not figured out what makes this one so special, except it is perfect in every way, and I marveled about it all through the book! Muddled Through’s plot and subplots, the character development, dialogue, the descriptions of Maine in the spring and other local color, the flow, the pacing - everything was perfect. Even the little bits of back story the author sprinkled in were perfect and necessary, and contained no spoilers that would prevent someone reading the book as a stand alone. It’s spring (and mud season) in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. The Snowden Family Clambake is not open for the season until summer. Julia Snowden sees flashing police lights at Lupine Design, a upscale pottery shop and studio where her sister works during off-season. She dashes over there, and discovers her sister is fine, but that all the pottery in the retail shop has been destroyed. Later, the body of another tenant is found in the basement of Lupine Design, and the state police take over the investigation. When Julia solved both mysteries, she was well ahead of me. I didn’t figure it out on my own, like I often do with mysteries. The ending was satisfying, except that it means I have to wait to read another book in the series. I enjoy reading about the relationships Julia has with her family, and with friends old and new. The characters come alive. The investigation was very interesting, of course. I was amazed during the entire book how perfect it was. I even read the Acknowledgements and the recipes, and I never read those in any book. This time, however, I’m going to make all the recipes. They all captured my interest in the book and my taste buds still salivate when I think of them. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the DRC. They want my honest review, and that’s what this is.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Lind

    This is the tenth book in the series, and I definitely recommend reading them in order. The author does give information about the characters and setting, but the relationships between the characters would be lost on a newcomer. That being said, I feel as lost as the mc Julia is in this book. The author gives us a story that takes place at the end of Spring, so just before her family's busy Summer clambake season. Julia has very little interaction with her family and friends in this story, except This is the tenth book in the series, and I definitely recommend reading them in order. The author does give information about the characters and setting, but the relationships between the characters would be lost on a newcomer. That being said, I feel as lost as the mc Julia is in this book. The author gives us a story that takes place at the end of Spring, so just before her family's busy Summer clambake season. Julia has very little interaction with her family and friends in this story, except for her sister, Livvie.  Of the new characters introduced in this book, the older philanthropist has a great storyline. The others fall flat, in my opinion. The mystery is well written, and it definitely kept me guessing until the end. I also am hopeful for the next book, as the author is definitely paving the way for a new love interest for Julia, who continues to be enjoyable to read

  16. 5 out of 5

    Missi Martin (Stockwell)

    Muddled Through is the tenth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross and the books just get better and better as you get deeper into the series. In Muddled Through it is springtime in Busman's Harbor which means it is down time for most of the residents and businesses. That is all but a few included a fairly new business, Lupine Designs. Main character Julia Snowden's sister Livvie works at Lupine Designs in the offseason when the Snowden Family Clambake is closed. Julia and her Muddled Through is the tenth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross and the books just get better and better as you get deeper into the series. In Muddled Through it is springtime in Busman's Harbor which means it is down time for most of the residents and businesses. That is all but a few included a fairly new business, Lupine Designs. Main character Julia Snowden's sister Livvie works at Lupine Designs in the offseason when the Snowden Family Clambake is closed. Julia and her ex-boyfriend Chris use to live above Gus's restaurant and in the offseason they would run it so Gus could have time off......unfortunately this is the first year that they are not doing that as Julia broke up with Chris and Gus needed the studio apartment above the restaurant for family so Julia is back living in her old bedroom in the family house residing with her mom. There are some changes occurring in Busman's Harbor and one of the things that the townspeople cannot agree on is a pedestrian mall that will run during the summer on weekends. Some people are adamant about not having the pedestrian mall and are very vocal at a town meeting. After the town meeting Lupine Designs is vandalized and fingers are pointed towards Phinney Hardison seeing as his business is in the same building and they share the basement.....and there is no secret that Phinney and Zoey, the owner of Lupine Designs do not get along.....and when he is found murdered in the middle of the night in the shared basement, the only suspect the police are looking at is Zoey. When Livvie askis Julia to help prove Zoey's innocence, she has no idea what that entails. As Julia gets to know Zoey, she realizes that she likes her and can see them as becoming close friends....but is Zoey guilty with keeping secrets like Chris was ...... Julia has no idea that Zoey's past plays a huge part in what is happening currently and as she digs in, she may just bury herself and Zoey...... Readers will LOVE this series !!! The town of Busman's Harbor is one you will want to visit regularly. You will love the people and the shops and the businesses.....you will have no problem overlooking the murders that occur because you know Julia will be looking into them and you know she won't stop until the guilty party is arrested !!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    The Cozy Review

    In the newest book of the “A Maine Clambake Mystery” series, Muddled Through, Julia finds herself watching over her sister Livvie. Livvie’s new job at Lupine Design with her new boss Zoey Butterfield has become dangerous. Not the job itself, but for some reason, someone has it in for Zoey and takes it out on her pottery. Life is never dull where Julia is concerned; a bit lonely for her and sometimes too busy. But otherwise, it's never dangerous unless she sticks her nose into a murder investigat In the newest book of the “A Maine Clambake Mystery” series, Muddled Through, Julia finds herself watching over her sister Livvie. Livvie’s new job at Lupine Design with her new boss Zoey Butterfield has become dangerous. Not the job itself, but for some reason, someone has it in for Zoey and takes it out on her pottery. Life is never dull where Julia is concerned; a bit lonely for her and sometimes too busy. But otherwise, it's never dangerous unless she sticks her nose into a murder investigation, which she does all too often. Someone has destroyed Zoey’s pottery showroom, and whoever it is doesn’t stop at just smashing a few pieces of her work. As a backer of the pedestrian mall, Zoey has raised the ire of several locals who do not appreciate “outsiders” moving into town and trying to change things, anything! But this time, someone is killed due to Zoey’s so-called interference in the status quo, or so it seems. Of course, no one would believe that a simple pottery shop and a new resident would cause such a stir, but most didn’t count on the stubbornness and prejudice of the older people who didn’t want anything to ever change or new people to move into town. Or… was the motive for this murder really about something else? Julia isn’t sure, but she decides that she needs to find out. The characters in this series are always interesting. The dynamic between Julia and her sister and the other characters always keeps readers asking questions. The addition of Zoey and her pottery shop, which is nicely described, adds to the overall feel of a tight-knit community that needs to be brought into the 21st century. The suspects in Muddled Through are easy to spot. Unfortunately, I found the killer and the overall motive implausible. There are twists and turns and red herrings, but the evidence doesn’t fit correctly. Until the end, I was going back and forth on whether the killer and the person who smashed up Zoey’s pottery were the same individuals. I have to say that when the killer’s identity is revealed and the entire scenario unfurled, It did not work for me; it just seemed too far-fetched to be believable. However, that said, It was still an enjoyable read and kept me happily entertained.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    Muddled Through is the 10th book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross. In this book, I was pleased to be reacquainted with the proprietor of The Snowden Family Clambake Company, Julia Snowden of Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Julia helps out when her sister, Livvie, a potter at Lupine Design owned by Zoey Butterfield, gets into a spot of bother and the police are called. Zoey is supporting plans to turn part of the main street into a pedestrian mall during the summer and other tourist-f Muddled Through is the 10th book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross. In this book, I was pleased to be reacquainted with the proprietor of The Snowden Family Clambake Company, Julia Snowden of Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Julia helps out when her sister, Livvie, a potter at Lupine Design owned by Zoey Butterfield, gets into a spot of bother and the police are called. Zoey is supporting plans to turn part of the main street into a pedestrian mall during the summer and other tourist-friendly changes proposed for the town. Following a town meeting, Phinney Hardison, who shares space with Zoey, from where he sells antiques, is found dead. Although book 10 in the Maine Clambake Mystery series, this can be enjoyed as a stand-alone. With a compelling plot, drama aplenty, a great bunch of characters, and oodles of mayhem added to the mix, this was a fantastic read that kept me on my toes. The writing style of Barbara Ross is a good fit for me. Trying to unravel the mystery in the pockets of Julia was lots of fun and I welcomed the comfortable pace as well as the neatly packaged ending. I would like to backtrack and devour the eight books I've missed in this series as I thoroughly enjoyed Muddled Through and I'm game to see what adventures befall Julia and the Busman's Harbor crowd, next. The book leaves the reader with recipes to salivate over. Very highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Kensington Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cozy Reviews

    I enjoy this series for its atmospheric setting on coastal Maine and great charcters. This book takes place in April which is a muddy season in Maine and is referenced throughout this book. This is the 10th in series and I have enjoyed the entire series. The charcters all add to the fun of each book and are familiar as old friends. Its a pleasant read and a fun series to return to . Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley. My review opinion is my own. This takes place at a local pottery shop I enjoy this series for its atmospheric setting on coastal Maine and great charcters. This book takes place in April which is a muddy season in Maine and is referenced throughout this book. This is the 10th in series and I have enjoyed the entire series. The charcters all add to the fun of each book and are familiar as old friends. Its a pleasant read and a fun series to return to . Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley. My review opinion is my own. This takes place at a local pottery shop. Julia Snowden helps the business owner find out who vandalized her shop. Then the vandalizing suspect commits a murder and Julia is on the case. The sleuth was well rounded and had plenty of red herrings to keep readers guessing. It was a fun mystery to conclusion.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    Livvie asks her sister to help her boss, Zoey after a man is murdered in the basement of her business/home. Julia agrees to help, and has been an asset to the police in other investigations in the past. This is the 10th book in the series. There are defined characters and plenty of twists and surprises. This was the first book in this series I have read, and it is a standalone book with all of the major questions being answered. This is also the first book I've read from this author and want to go b Livvie asks her sister to help her boss, Zoey after a man is murdered in the basement of her business/home. Julia agrees to help, and has been an asset to the police in other investigations in the past. This is the 10th book in the series. There are defined characters and plenty of twists and surprises. This was the first book in this series I have read, and it is a standalone book with all of the major questions being answered. This is also the first book I've read from this author and want to go back to the beginning and start from book 1. I'd like to thank NetGalley and the author for allowing me to read this advanced copy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    I always eagerly await the next installment in one of my favorite cozy mystery series, the Maine Clambake series. I really enjoy the characters as well as the setting and the mysteries. Though I've only visited the southern tip of Maine once, Ms Ross brings the state, the food, people, settings, flowers and customs alive through her vivid descriptions. This book had quite a progression with some of the main characters, as well as introducing what appears to be a new, really good friend for our g I always eagerly await the next installment in one of my favorite cozy mystery series, the Maine Clambake series. I really enjoy the characters as well as the setting and the mysteries. Though I've only visited the southern tip of Maine once, Ms Ross brings the state, the food, people, settings, flowers and customs alive through her vivid descriptions. This book had quite a progression with some of the main characters, as well as introducing what appears to be a new, really good friend for our girl Julia Snowden. Throughly enjoyed!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    I enjoy every visit I make to Busman's Harbor, ME, and the Snowden Family Clambake. The residents feel like friends. I liked learning more about the town itself and the shop owners rather than being on the island. The mystery was well-paced and kept me reading late into the night. I love everything about this series and can't wait for the next one. I received a copy from #NetGalley for an honest review. I enjoy every visit I make to Busman's Harbor, ME, and the Snowden Family Clambake. The residents feel like friends. I liked learning more about the town itself and the shop owners rather than being on the island. The mystery was well-paced and kept me reading late into the night. I love everything about this series and can't wait for the next one. I received a copy from #NetGalley for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barb Foerst

    Julia’s day starts off with police cars in front of Lupine Design, a pottery shop where her sister Livvie works. Julia finds the shop a disaster with broken pottery all over the floor. Fortunately, no one is injured. Livvie asks Julia for her help in finding the guilty party. I once again enjoyed my trip to Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Great characters, tough mystery, and a few surprises.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    6/29/2022 The most contrived of the series to date, which is only noticeable given how naturalistic the rest of the books have been! And still a very good read. Full review tk at CriminalElement.com. 6/29/2022 The most contrived of the series to date, which is only noticeable given how naturalistic the rest of the books have been! And still a very good read. Full review tk at CriminalElement.com.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Debi Paglia

    Wow! Best one yet! Could not put it down! Never guessed “who done it”! Love this series. Always makes me feel like we’re back in Maine. Such a beautiful place - in any season. If you haven’t read this series, you really need to start with book #1 - Clammed Up! You will love getting to know Julia, her family, her business and her town.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Fun cozy read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    June Price

    This one had my full attention from the very first page. The characters were likeable, rather like people we might know or want to know, and the setting in a small, waterfront town was nicely described for us. Since I live in Alaska where many of our small but scenic towns, think Inland Passage, have dealt with the same issues of whether to cling to the past or move forward and try to cultivate more and more changes to bring in more cruise ships, tourists, and higher end businesses, I could defi This one had my full attention from the very first page. The characters were likeable, rather like people we might know or want to know, and the setting in a small, waterfront town was nicely described for us. Since I live in Alaska where many of our small but scenic towns, think Inland Passage, have dealt with the same issues of whether to cling to the past or move forward and try to cultivate more and more changes to bring in more cruise ships, tourists, and higher end businesses, I could definitely relate to the conflict Julia Snowden and the residents of Busman's Harbor, Maine, felt. Change can be scary. Murder is scary, too. As the book opens, Julia is rushing to her sister's side after the pottery shop where Livvie works is badly vandalized. No one is injured but shop owner Zoey is devastated. This round of destruction is soon overshadowed by the discovery of the neighboring business owner, with whom Zoey has a difficult relationship, who is found dead in their shared basement space. There's no sign of forced entry either time and Zoey becomes the prime suspect. Is it significant that Zoey was far away, digging clay, when the vandalism occurred? Livvie doesn't believe for a moment that Zoey would kill anyone and asks her sister Julia to look into it. Fast paced and boosting several side stories, including Julia's romantic life, or maybe lack of. Why do so many so loudly oppose the idea of a pedestrian mall during summer season? Zoey's soon dead neighbor was one of them while Zoey pushed for it. Where does Alice Rumsford, a well-respected resident, stand on the issue? Could she or her nephew Ben be involved? Why doesn't she tell Julia who took the incredible photos displayed at her home? Why didn't the man walking his dog see anything when he passed the store the morning of the vandalism? Why is Julia's ex seen talking to Ben after Julia has lunch with Ben one day? How about the man so determined to develop Busman's Harbor? Why is he buying up properties? Could he have wanted Phinney's business site enough to kill for it? What connection is there between those involved? Does the past impact the present? All these questions and so many others will be answered as you read. It's a quick read and will keep you guessing. I liked Julia and those about her. Also, living in Alaska, I could relate to author Ross' analogy early on of Maine being like Lucy taunting Charlie Brown to kick the football as a comparison to how spring comes in and taunts us early on, only for the weather to fool us and turn miserable the next day. Alaska does the same thing. This is the 10th book in this series but worked well as a standalone. Thanks to #NetGalley and #KinsingtonBooks for the invite to visit Julia in Busman's Harbor. I'll be back. Her Snowden Family Clambake sounds like a lovely excuse to visit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Linda Baker

    I discovered the Maine Clambake Mysteries while in Maine for vacation a couple of years ago and have been reading them steadily since. This tenth installment takes place in Mud Season, that season between winter and summer when the snowmelt is gone, and the most plentiful things in Maine are mud and blackflies. Busman's Harbor is gearing up for the tourist season, not least Julia Snowden, who manages the Snowden Family Clambake. Julia feels at loose ends after ending a long-term relationship and I discovered the Maine Clambake Mysteries while in Maine for vacation a couple of years ago and have been reading them steadily since. This tenth installment takes place in Mud Season, that season between winter and summer when the snowmelt is gone, and the most plentiful things in Maine are mud and blackflies. Busman's Harbor is gearing up for the tourist season, not least Julia Snowden, who manages the Snowden Family Clambake. Julia feels at loose ends after ending a long-term relationship and is back in her family home. Even the apartment she lived in is unavailable for a few months. A divided Busman's Harbor is on the verge of deciding whether to install a proposed pedestrian mall during the summer months. Some are bitterly opposed, including "antique" dealer Phinney Hardison, but others, including some wealthy pillars of the community, think it might be a good idea for the town. Zoey Butterfield is at the center of the controversy. In the off-season, she owns a thriving pottery business and employs Livvie, Julia's sister. The pedestrian mall was her idea. Phinney and Zoey share a retail space, so tensions are exceptionally high. When Julia sees police cars in the early morning, she races over to find Zoey's side of the building has been vandalized. Thousands of dollars worth of pottery were destroyed, ready for the season and shipping worldwide. Phinney, of course, denies any responsibility. However, when Phinney is discovered dead in the building's shared basement, Zoey is squarely in the sight of the police. Julia needs to find out who is responsible for both crimes before the town tears apart. What follows is an intricately plotted chase with all the familiar characters and a very welcome new one in the person of Zoey. Muddled Through is a most enjoyable addition to the series. Thanks to NetGalley.com and Kensington for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    OpenBookSociety.com

    https://openbooksociety.com/article/m... Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie I enjoyed meeting Julia, her family, and her friends in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. There is something special about Mainers that invites the reader, even those From Away, into their towns and lives. I appreciate the sense of community the folks have despite their differences and how one usually knows where they stand with each other. Julia has been recovering from breaking up with Chris, the man she lived with after returni https://openbooksociety.com/article/m... Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie I enjoyed meeting Julia, her family, and her friends in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. There is something special about Mainers that invites the reader, even those From Away, into their towns and lives. I appreciate the sense of community the folks have despite their differences and how one usually knows where they stand with each other. Julia has been recovering from breaking up with Chris, the man she lived with after returning to Maine. She manages the Snowden Family Clambake during tourist season. Her sister Livvie and brother-in-law Sonny oversee all the cooking for the Clambake and their mother manages the gift shop. They hope to have major renovations finished before the new season begins. Julia doesn’t have an off-season job, so she currently lives with her widowed mother. Her sister Livvie is a talented potter who works for Zoey at Lupine Designs during the off season. They design and make upscale ceramics of all kinds to sell in their storefront, online, or by special order. Julia was leaving her mother’s one morning and saw police cars outside Lupine Designs. Frightened for Livvie, she hurried over to learn that when her sister arrived to open the store, every piece of ceramic in the storefront was shattered with cabinets and shelves overturned. Zoey, who lives in the upstairs apartment, had gone out to dig for local clay for some of her needs. Childhood friend and police officer Jamie drove Lily to where Zoey was digging where there was no cell phone reception. Julia, Zoey, and many townspeople attended a public hearing that evening regarding a new plan for summer tourist traffic to the local shops. Zoey is a proponent of the pedestrian mall, but some of the older, long-term townspeople are against it. Phinney, the older man who has a small storefront in the same building as Zoey, is loudly opposed to it. He and his friends are against any kind of change, especially if Zoey is for it. Since Zoey moved into the building and did major renovations for her business, they have battled every little thing, almost every single day, for more than three years. They had a nasty disagreement that night at the hearing, resulting in the discussion being tabled and the hearing being shut down. The next morning, a distressed Livvie called Julia, who literally ran to find emergency vehicles around the shop again. The medical examiner was there, and she had just called in the state ME. Due to the circumstances, she could only pronounce the person inside dead and leave the rest for the state police. Livvie and Zoey found Phinney in their shared basement, brutally murdered. Just as with the vandalism the day before, there was no evidence of someone breaking into either shop. With Zoey being the only person there overnight, and after their public blowup, she is the main suspect. Julia has helped the state police solve murders in the past, and Livvie wants her to do so again. Reluctantly, she gave the matter thought, even though she knows Sergeant Flynn and Lieutenant Binder will investigate the murder thoroughly. They discovered that when Zoey was a teenager, she went home one day and found her mother dead, murdered in a very similar fashion. The man convicted and imprisoned is still incarcerated, so Flynn and Binder took a much closer look at Zoey. I enjoyed this wonderful cast of characters, some more eccentric than others. Many could step out of the pages into real life, so well are they described. I think it is fun to have Julia and her mother, neither one of them into food preparation of any kind, with principal roles in the family business. My favorite characters are Julia, Zoey, and Alice, an octogenarian known by most people in the area but new to Julia. I was fascinated to learn about Alice’s photography career and Zoey’s pottery studio and shop. Plot twists kept me guessing throughout. I enjoyed watching the friendship between Julia and Zoey grow even through their disagreements. There is just the right balance of humor and high tension. I enjoy novels set in Maine as they often show ruggedly beautiful scenery and share interesting history; I found that and much more in this novel. The author crafted a mystery that held my attention, and I was fully engaged with the characters and murder. I was startled, yet saddened, to see who the killer really was. The end was perfect and left no loose ends. I highly recommend this intriguing cozy mystery!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Luechtefeld

    Thank you Netgalley and Kensington for the advance copy of Muddled Through by Barbara Ross. The Maine Clambake Mystery series is one of my absolute favorite cozy mystery series. Book 10 in the series, Muddled Through did not disappoint. Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman's Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Fami Thank you Netgalley and Kensington for the advance copy of Muddled Through by Barbara Ross. The Maine Clambake Mystery series is one of my absolute favorite cozy mystery series. Book 10 in the series, Muddled Through did not disappoint. Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman's Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case... When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she races over. Her sister Livvie works there as a potter. Livvie is unharmed but surrounded by smashed up pottery. The police find the owner Zoey Butterfield digging clay by a nearby bay, but she has no idea who would target her store. Zoey is a vocal advocate for turning four blocks of Main Street into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. Other shop owners, including her next-door neighbor, are vehemently opposed. Could a small-town fight provoke such destruction? When a murder follows the break-in, it’s up to Julia to dig through the secrets and lies to uncover the truth... While this book takes place before the clambake season is over, Julia Snowden is still a great character. This book took place almost a year after the previous book and Julia’s life is in an upheaval. A lot of things have changed, and Julia was struggling personally. But as always Julia comes through for her friends and Busman’s Harbor. I loved seeing a new resident of Busman’s Harbor and learning about a new business. While these books are mysteries, I always feel like I learn something new whether it is about clamming or pottery like in this book. I was extremely happy to see that Julia had stuck to her guns and was still not with Chris. I never liked him, so I was glad he was gone. I will be interested in seeing what develops if anything with the new love interests introduced in this story. I won’t say more so that I don’t spoil it for you. When I read these books, I am always transported to Busman’s Harbor and can picture everything about the town. Ross uses such great descriptions that make you want to visit the town. On my bucket list, is to go to an actual Maine Clambake thanks to these books. The mystery of this book was good. There were multiple suspects. Although I figured out the person, I had no idea of the reasoning and I loved that it kept me guessing. Overall, I loved Muddled Through and will be waiting for book eleven in the series. Have you read Muddled Through? If you think you might enjoy it, I recommend reading book one in the series first. Although this book is a stand-alone mystery, there are a lot of things that you will miss out from by starting at book 10. Get your copy of Muddled Though for its June 28th publication.

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