by Sandra Murphy
We have a pair of December mysteries for your winter reading-Unnatural Causes: A Dr. Katie LaClair series by Dawn Eastman, and Stowed Away: A Maine Clambake Mystery by Barbara Ross. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of both books, along with links you can use to purchase them.
Unnatural Causes: A Dr. Katie LaClair series by Dawn Eastman
Review by Sandra Murphy
Katie LeClair is the new doctor at the clinic in Baxter, Michigan. Emmet and his son, Nick, are the others. Emmet is a general practitioner while Nick specializes in pain management. When one of Kelly’s patients is found dead, an apparent suicide, she worries she missed seeing symptoms. A pill bottle is found close at hand, and it has Kelly’s name on it as the prescribing doctor. The problem is, Kelly didn’t write a prescription. There’s also no entry on the records.
In the meantime, drugs are missing from the practice. Nick was supposed to be on call the night of the suicide but missed a phone call from the hospital. The woman and her husband were heard arguing, a rarity, days before her death.
Kelly finds an ally in another doctor—the one the nurses drool over. He says he won’t date another doctor, but he is willing to spend time with Kelly. Is that a date or not? Kelly’s brother also helps. He’s a computer whiz and able to find out things faster than the police. Still, will they find out the truth before another death occurs?
To say more would give away too much of the story. Just remember, secrets have a way of coming out, no matter what. Some people are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the past in the past.
This is the first in the series. Look for Do No Harm, due out in November, available for pre-order. A fast-paced mystery, bordering on thriller, this promises to be a successful series. Eastman also writes the Family Fortunes series, four so far.
Stowed Away: A Maine Clambake Mystery by Barbara Ross
Review by Sandra Murphy
Julia Snowden and her family run a clambake business in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Tourists love to visit the island, eat clams, corn, potatoes, and then head to the gift shop. Like many small towns, tourist season funds the slow winter months.
There’s been a huge yacht moored nearby, rumored to be refurbished which means plenty of business even though there’s a small crew, the owner and one guest on board. The owner is Geoffrey Bowman, the man who bet against the housing boom and won—which meant homeowners lost.
The guest, Wyatt, turns out to be an old classmate of Julia’s, not a fond memory. She’s the designer hired to refit the huge ship. In addition, she’s got an appointment with Julia’s mom about the old, falling down, family mansion. It’s reached the time when it either has to be renovated for seasonal living, restored for tours or torn down. The family is divided on what should happen, but the final decision is her mother’s.
Julia and her boyfriend Chris plus Quentin, an old friend of both Julia’s and Wyatt’s, are invited to dinner aboard the yacht, despite the fact Geoffrey rarely has guests and never leaves the ship. Geoffrey doesn’t act like a recluse, but there are protestors who appear everywhere he goes so staying on the ship seems like a good idea.
When Julia gets a hysterical phone call from Wyatt, she and Chris race to the ship to find Geoffrey’s body, seated at the table set for two. Since Wyatt was to be his dinner guest, she’s at the top of the suspect list. The other crew members had gone ashore per Geoffrey’s orders.
Julia agrees to help with the investigation, in spite of the fact she’s not all that fond of Wyatt. Quentin asked though so she’ll try. In finding out what happened to Geoffrey, Julia also finds out more about herself and what she wants from her life.
This is book six in the series. Julia is a sensible person who values her family, the business and Chris. Although there are disagreements within the family, they all get along and work together well. Readers will learn what goes on behind the scenes to set up clambakes, how small towns rely on tourist dollars to survive, and how the mega-rich live—which isn’t all caviar and champagne.
The mystery is a good one that will keep readers guessing until the end and wanting more. The description of the food will inspire a summer trip to Maine. Recipes include tarragon ricotta gnocchi with lobster veloute, herbed halibut sous-vide, and oven-roasted beer can chicken with roasted potatoes.
To enter to win a copy of both books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “winter,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 3, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.