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Early October is “winding down” time in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but there’s nothing relaxing about it for Julia Snowden. Between busloads of weekend leaf peepers at the Snowden Family Clambake and a gut renovation of the old mansion on Morrow Island, she’s keeping it all together with a potentially volatile skeleton crew—until one of them turns up dead under the firewood. W Early October is “winding down” time in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but there’s nothing relaxing about it for Julia Snowden. Between busloads of weekend leaf peepers at the Snowden Family Clambake and a gut renovation of the old mansion on Morrow Island, she’s keeping it all together with a potentially volatile skeleton crew—until one of them turns up dead under the firewood. When the Russian demo team clearing out the mansion discovers a room that’s been sealed off for decades, Julia’s baffled as to its purpose and what secrets it might have held. Tensions are already simmering with the crew, but when one of the workers is found murdered, things come to a boil. With the discovery of another body—and a mysterious diary with Cyrillic text in the hidden room—the pressure’s on Julia to dig up a real killer fast. But she’ll have to sort through a pile of suspects, including ex-spouses, a spurned lover, and a recently released prisoner, to fish out one clammed-up killer.


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Early October is “winding down” time in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but there’s nothing relaxing about it for Julia Snowden. Between busloads of weekend leaf peepers at the Snowden Family Clambake and a gut renovation of the old mansion on Morrow Island, she’s keeping it all together with a potentially volatile skeleton crew—until one of them turns up dead under the firewood. W Early October is “winding down” time in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but there’s nothing relaxing about it for Julia Snowden. Between busloads of weekend leaf peepers at the Snowden Family Clambake and a gut renovation of the old mansion on Morrow Island, she’s keeping it all together with a potentially volatile skeleton crew—until one of them turns up dead under the firewood. When the Russian demo team clearing out the mansion discovers a room that’s been sealed off for decades, Julia’s baffled as to its purpose and what secrets it might have held. Tensions are already simmering with the crew, but when one of the workers is found murdered, things come to a boil. With the discovery of another body—and a mysterious diary with Cyrillic text in the hidden room—the pressure’s on Julia to dig up a real killer fast. But she’ll have to sort through a pile of suspects, including ex-spouses, a spurned lover, and a recently released prisoner, to fish out one clammed-up killer.

30 review for Sealed Off

  1. 5 out of 5

    Natalia R

    The Snowden Family Clambake business is wrapping up the busy tourist season in Busman's Harbor, Maine. When an employee is murdered, everyone immediately suspects Julia's boyfriend's ex-con brother. He swears he is innocent and Julia agrees to help him clear his name. Meanwhile, renovations are starting in the family's Island home and a secret diary is discovered in a hidden room from 1898. It tells the sad story of a young woman and the Snowden family is determined to find out what really happe The Snowden Family Clambake business is wrapping up the busy tourist season in Busman's Harbor, Maine. When an employee is murdered, everyone immediately suspects Julia's boyfriend's ex-con brother. He swears he is innocent and Julia agrees to help him clear his name. Meanwhile, renovations are starting in the family's Island home and a secret diary is discovered in a hidden room from 1898. It tells the sad story of a young woman and the Snowden family is determined to find out what really happened to her. I really enjoyed this delightful installment in the Maine Clambake Mysteries. It is well-written with realistic characters, a lovely seaside town setting, and two intriguing mysteries. The murder mystery has enough twists, turns, and suspects to keep readers engaged throughout the entire story. The historical mystery is very enjoyable. I love genealogy so I was very invested in the mysterious secret room and wanted to find answers. Overall, I found the conclusion of both mysteries to be very satisfying. I have read a few books in this series and enjoyed every one of them. I will definitely be reading more by Barbara Ross. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    It's mid-October and the end of the Snowden family's Clambake season, set in Busman's Harbor, Maine. A crew of workers have been hired to restore the family home on Morrow Island. One of the workers is killed and Julia's boyfriend's ex-con brother becomes the main suspect. During the renovations, they also find an enclosed room on her family's island where a mystery woman wrote a diary a hundred years ago, they wonder what became of her. Julia is determined to find out who killed Jason, even if It's mid-October and the end of the Snowden family's Clambake season, set in Busman's Harbor, Maine. A crew of workers have been hired to restore the family home on Morrow Island. One of the workers is killed and Julia's boyfriend's ex-con brother becomes the main suspect. During the renovations, they also find an enclosed room on her family's island where a mystery woman wrote a diary a hundred years ago, they wonder what became of her. Julia is determined to find out who killed Jason, even if she puts herself in danger once again. I really enjoy this series but I admit, this installment was not one of my favorites. Neither plot was particularly compelling. I am wondering where the relationship between Julia and Chris is going or if they are just going to continue dating with no commitment. I'd like to see it take a more definite direction. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for an ARC. My review is voluntary.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    The clambake that Julia Snowden and her family run on their family’s island is just running on weekends through Columbus Day. Unfortunately, tension among the staff seems to be reaching the boiling point. Romances among the staff have been causing issues all season, but Julia was hoping they could make it until the end of the season, and those issues would resolve themselves before the clambake starts up again in the spring. A fist fight as the guests and crew were leaving one days brings things The clambake that Julia Snowden and her family run on their family’s island is just running on weekends through Columbus Day. Unfortunately, tension among the staff seems to be reaching the boiling point. Romances among the staff have been causing issues all season, but Julia was hoping they could make it until the end of the season, and those issues would resolve themselves before the clambake starts up again in the spring. A fist fight as the guests and crew were leaving one days brings things to a head, and leaves Julia in the unfortunate position of firing her boyfriend’s brother. However, a dead body on the island the next morning only makes the situation worse. There is a strong sub-plot, almost a second full mystery, in this book involving a room that has been sealed off since the 1890’s in the family mansion on the island. Between the two stories, this book moves forward at a constant pace, and the pages flew by. I never wanted to put the book down until I reached the satisfying end. Once again, I was left in awe of how the clues were woven into the story. Several series arcs were advanced here, and the chances for character development were put to full use. The new characters are just as strong as the series regulars, which is no surprise to anyone who has read the series. Those looking for recipes will be pleased with the five we get at the end of the story. There is not one wasted word in this story, and I set it down completely satisfied. Well, almost satisfied. As is always the case, I was left wanting to visit Julia and her family and friends again as soon as possible. Fans of the series will be delighted with this book. If you haven’t started this series yet, you need to fix that as soon as possible. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas Thoughts We are back in Busman’s Harbor, Maine in the final days of the clambake season. Julia is so excited because when the clambakes end the demolition of the inside of the island mansion, Windsholme, can really get going. Hopes are to get as much done as possible before the weather shuts work down. The really cool thing is a Morrow relative that spent summers in the mansion has come to take a final look. Marguerite remembers her time there as a child and wanted to see the place one m Dollycas Thoughts We are back in Busman’s Harbor, Maine in the final days of the clambake season. Julia is so excited because when the clambakes end the demolition of the inside of the island mansion, Windsholme, can really get going. Hopes are to get as much done as possible before the weather shuts work down. The really cool thing is a Morrow relative that spent summers in the mansion has come to take a final look. Marguerite remembers her time there as a child and wanted to see the place one more time before the renovations. While not necessary for Marguerite to approve their plans Julia and her mother feel that it would nice to have her blessing. A surprising discovery is made right before Marguerite’s visit that sends the family on a quest to get answers. Another find may answer some of their questions. With Snowden Family Clambake working with a skeleton crew to finish out the year there is clear there is some tension between two members of the team. The tension escalates to a fistfight that is broken up only to find one of them dead the next day under the woodpile of the island. Later Julia finds another body. Why is all this happening on her family’s island? Could the deaths be related to the discovery in the mansion or is there something else going on? ______ I really loved this story. The historic part was fascinating and it comes with its own mystery. The family mansion has been vacant since 1929, so it was wonderful to hear an account of a family member from her little girl’s perspective. A discovery that has been Sealed Off in the mansion opens the door to another piece of history dating back to the late 1800s. I was completely captivated by this part of the book. The descriptions of the mansion are always very detailed, With each book in the series, the images in my mind become more vivid. I really am looking forward to reading more about the incredible renovation. The current murders are a second mystery to solve. Julia has a vested interest because they took place on her family’s island and the prime suspect is not only her employee but the brother of her boyfriend Chris who has checkered past. It is a mystery full of red herrings. Julia found other suspects and works her way through the plethora of twists and turns. But by the end of the book, while the known mysteries are wrapped up, the author throws another one at readers leading to the next book. Ms. Ross is a stellar storyteller. She has created characters that are easy to get invested in. The recurring characters continue to grow and the new characters get fleshed out quickly and have a true purpose to the story. Every time I open a book by Barbara Ross I know I am in for a real treat and that is just what Sealed Off was. Autumn in Busman’s Harbor was absolutely delightful. Leaf peepers and murder went together nicely but the history portions were my absolute favorite.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Burdette

    An excellent entry in one of my favorite cozy mystery series. It's neither silly nor scary, and the characters feel like real people with real problems. Busman's Harbor, Maine, is painted so clearly I feel as though I've visited many times.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Julia is busy working at the family’s clambake and doing a total redo of the mansion. The Russian crew working on it finds a room sealed off that no one knew about. They also find a journal, which no one sits down and read right away something I would do and it always bothers me in books how they put off reading old journals. A member of the crew is murdered and Julia has to find the killer fast, she also wants to solve the mystery of the sealed room.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christi

    This is one of my favorite series — every time I finish a book in the series, I want to visit Maine. This is my favorite of the series so far. I didn’t figure out who the guilty party was until the end of the book. I also liked the mystery within the mystery involving Julia’s family and Morrow Island. I highly recommend the series and this book!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    Sealed Off by Barbara Ross is the eighth A Maine Clambake Mystery. It can be read on its own for those who have just discovered this series. Julia Snowden has her hands full in Sealed Off between running the family business, getting ready for the opening of the winter restaurant she runs with Chris, the renovations at Windsholme, the murder of an employee, visiting relatives and the hidden room. Marguerite is an elderly relative who lived at Windsholme when she was a child and is visiting Busman Sealed Off by Barbara Ross is the eighth A Maine Clambake Mystery. It can be read on its own for those who have just discovered this series. Julia Snowden has her hands full in Sealed Off between running the family business, getting ready for the opening of the winter restaurant she runs with Chris, the renovations at Windsholme, the murder of an employee, visiting relatives and the hidden room. Marguerite is an elderly relative who lived at Windsholme when she was a child and is visiting Busman’s Harbor with her granddaughter, Tallulah. She is arriving to take a last look at the house before the renovations begin. I like that she can describe what the once stately summer home looked like when it was at its prime. I enjoyed Marguerite’s readings of the diary. I admit that I found the story of the nanny more compelling than the modern day whodunit. I just loved the descriptions of the room’s furnishing and the beautiful clothing the governess left behind. I was a little disappointed with the outcome (but that is just me). Jason Caraway and Terry Durand bickering about Emmy Bailey was unprofessional and I was surprised that Julia let it go on as long as she did (I know it is fiction—but I thought it odd). No one has bothered to tell Emmy that her daughter could be Terry’s child and that Huntington’s runs in the family. I was happy that this particular storyline is put to bed by the end of the novel. The death of Jason Caraway along with what happened to the missing demo crew worker was not a head scratcher. There was a lack of suspects plus obvious clues that made this puzzle a snap to solve. There were some exciting suspenseful moments that I relished. I would like to see Julia and Chris’s relationship progress. They are happy, but I wonder what the future holds for them especially regarding children. Sealed Off is a good story, but it is not my favorite in the series. I am, though, looking forward to the next A Maine Clambake Mystery. This is a series that I enjoy reading with its charming town and engaging characters. Sealed Off has demolition drama, squabbling suitors, a recondite room, a discovered diary, and fine food.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    Sealed Off by Barbara Ross is the 8th book in A Maine Clambake Mystery, and a great addition. Julia Snowden and her family are busy finishing up the Snowden Family Clambakes Company season, and starting to redo the families mansion. Worker's from Russia are doing the demolition on the place, when a hidden room is found. When a murder take place, the sleuthing begins. There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, which Julia is determined to solve. Ms. Ross's books just seem to get better and Sealed Off by Barbara Ross is the 8th book in A Maine Clambake Mystery, and a great addition. Julia Snowden and her family are busy finishing up the Snowden Family Clambakes Company season, and starting to redo the families mansion. Worker's from Russia are doing the demolition on the place, when a hidden room is found. When a murder take place, the sleuthing begins. There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, which Julia is determined to solve. Ms. Ross's books just seem to get better and better. Reading about all the fresh seafood, makes me droll. I highly recommend this book and the whole series, you won't be disappointed.  I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Kensington Publishing. Thank you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    The first mystery is a hidden room from 1898 sealed away with everything in it intact. The second is a murder. All of this happens on a small, family owned island with a severely damaged Victorian home and currently part of a tourist attraction. Lots of twists and red herrings complete with state cops, an old diary, odd behaviors by main characters, and other peculiarities. I loved it! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!

  11. 5 out of 5

    The Kawaii Slartibartfast

    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Another winner in the Barbara Ross Clambake mystery series! This one involves a murdered rapscallion and a sealed off room in a renovated mansion!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sue Em

    It's close to the end of the season for Julia Snowden's family clambake, but tensions are rising between several of the employees, so much so that Julia isn't sure they will make it through the 6 final meals without a blowup. When two of them come to blows, that's only the precursor for finding one of them dead the next morning. Promising her boyfriend to find out the truth and hopefully exonerate his brother, she looks into the murder. Meanwhile during the renovations of the.manor house on the It's close to the end of the season for Julia Snowden's family clambake, but tensions are rising between several of the employees, so much so that Julia isn't sure they will make it through the 6 final meals without a blowup. When two of them come to blows, that's only the precursor for finding one of them dead the next morning. Promising her boyfriend to find out the truth and hopefully exonerate his brother, she looks into the murder. Meanwhile during the renovations of the.manor house on the island, they discover a perfectly preserved hidden room....total sealed off. Among the items found was a diary of a young governess and discovering the truth about what happened to her at the turn of the century. Both stories are interesting and well played off of each other. I love this series and enjoyed this book, may even more that the last couple. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    It’s only a week until the end of the Maine clambaking season when a worker with the Snowden Family Clambake is found dead under a wood pile. Julia is running the clambake and also directing the renovation of the old family mansion, vacant since 1929, on Morrow Island. When the contractors find a hidden room complete with a diary from 1898, Julia decides to investigate both mysteries in Sealed Off. The addition of a historic mystery in Sealed Off makes it a compelling read. Both mysteries are int It’s only a week until the end of the Maine clambaking season when a worker with the Snowden Family Clambake is found dead under a wood pile. Julia is running the clambake and also directing the renovation of the old family mansion, vacant since 1929, on Morrow Island. When the contractors find a hidden room complete with a diary from 1898, Julia decides to investigate both mysteries in Sealed Off. The addition of a historic mystery in Sealed Off makes it a compelling read. Both mysteries are intriguing and well-written. There are plenty of suspects and red herrings to sort out. It also contains five recipes cooked by characters in the book for: • Greek Style Lamb Chops Sous Vide (which means sealed off like the title) • Halibut Pizzaiola • Slow Cooker Cioppino • Olga’s Brownies (which sound deliciously homemade) • Ma’s Pot Roast Sealed Off is the eighth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series. However, it can be read as a standalone. It is recommended for the realistic characters, timeliness of its plot, and the well-researched historic topics. 4 stars! Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Robbins

    I fell in love with this series during book one so when I see a new one of course I have get my hands on it. This one is a fabulous addition. Julia is gearing up for the end of the season for the family clambake as well as a family visit. Windsholme is finally being worked on as well which adds some workmen into the mix. Things get interesting when two employees have a fight and one of them turns up dead on the island the very next day. Since her boyfriends brother is the one still alive from th I fell in love with this series during book one so when I see a new one of course I have get my hands on it. This one is a fabulous addition. Julia is gearing up for the end of the season for the family clambake as well as a family visit. Windsholme is finally being worked on as well which adds some workmen into the mix. Things get interesting when two employees have a fight and one of them turns up dead on the island the very next day. Since her boyfriends brother is the one still alive from the fight Julia finds herself having to investigate but I bet she never would have predicted all the things she managed to undercover when it was all said and done. A fantastically written cozy mystery that you will be unable to put down once you pick it up. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This book was un-put-down-able, and once again Barbara Ross excels and exceeds herself, with another better than ever story happening at the Snowden Family Clambake. And again I could not even guess at solving the mystery - well, I DID try to guess, but boy was I wrong, and when the answer was finally revealed, I never saw it coming. I also enjoyed that, as usual, there’s more than one story happening - it’s not just about the murder. An elderly relative who may hold a clue to a secret room, vari This book was un-put-down-able, and once again Barbara Ross excels and exceeds herself, with another better than ever story happening at the Snowden Family Clambake. And again I could not even guess at solving the mystery - well, I DID try to guess, but boy was I wrong, and when the answer was finally revealed, I never saw it coming. I also enjoyed that, as usual, there’s more than one story happening - it’s not just about the murder. An elderly relative who may hold a clue to a secret room, various employees who disappear, lobstermen who don’t do their work well but are suddenly rich, and more intriguing and delightful interactions with relatives, neighbours and townspeople. And - Julia Snowden, the protagonist, and I share a trait. No, and although I am the type who likes to help solve people’s problems, I don’t get involved in murders! It’s that Julia is forever pouring herself a cup of coffee - at her place, at Gus’s cafe, at her mom’s - and as a fellow coffee addict, whenever I read that I want to do the same! This series is wonderful and while I recommend reading them all, each book does fine as a stand-alone too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    I always enjoy this series and I anticipate what Barbara Ross will come up with next. One of the things I really enjoy about this series is that there is a secondary mystery in the books beyond the murder that is being solved. This book is not exception. The season is winding down and as winter is approaching, Julia is hoping that the demolition of Winsholme will be finished in time. Julia is also dealing with the return of her boyfriend Chris's brother. He has been released from prison and she I always enjoy this series and I anticipate what Barbara Ross will come up with next. One of the things I really enjoy about this series is that there is a secondary mystery in the books beyond the murder that is being solved. This book is not exception. The season is winding down and as winter is approaching, Julia is hoping that the demolition of Winsholme will be finished in time. Julia is also dealing with the return of her boyfriend Chris's brother. He has been released from prison and she hires him to help out at the Snowden Family Clambake. When one of their employees ends up dead, they have to shut everything down as no one is allowed on the island. The secondary mystery involves a hidden room uncovered by the Russian demo crew. Finding the room intact with clothes, personal items and a journal, Julia and her mother, cousin and great aunt try to figure out why the room was closed up and what happened to the woman who had lived in it. I love my visits to Busman Harbor, Maine. I enjoy this series with it's well-written story, great well-developed characters, beautiful setting and interesting mysteries. The murder mystery has several twists, and enough suspects to keep readers engaged. There are several red herrings that threw me off. I thought I had it all figured out, but was wrong on several accounts. There is a second murder that ties into the first and added another dimension to the story. The secondary, historical mystery was also enjoyable and intriguing. I love how this mystery is what gave the book it's title. I was very invested in the mysterious secret room and wanted to find answers. As things started to happen, and the demolition continued, Julia found another clue that finally threw open the doors to solve both murders. I found the conclusion of both mysteries to be very satisfying and interesting. I continue to enjoy this series and can hardly wait for my next trip back to Busman's Harbor. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Dara Rosenberg. She is a wonderful narrator. Her voice fit Julia perfectly and her narration made the story come alive for me. I could easily distinguish between all the different characters including the male voices which were well done. I have listened to other audiobooks by Dara Rosenberg, and will listen to more by this talented voice actress. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alannah Davis

    Another excellent Julia Snowden mystery! I always look forward to a new addition to the Maine Clambake Mystery series, and book 9 does not disappoint. There is a nifty little side mystery from the past, as well as the main story involving the murder of one of Julia's clambake employees. I read it through last night when I should have been sleeping because I just did not want to stop reading. Excellent, strong characterization. Can't wait for the next one!

  18. 5 out of 5

    K.A. Davis

    SEALED OFF, the eighth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross, is another entertaining installment in an enduring series. It’s been a treat watching the protagonist, Julia Snowden, develop as a well-rounded character from the beginning of the series. She’s smart, she’s determined, and she has a kind heart to help those in need around her. Julia’s family’s clambake is wrapping up the season on their private island and ramping up the remodel on the decrepit family historical man SEALED OFF, the eighth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross, is another entertaining installment in an enduring series. It’s been a treat watching the protagonist, Julia Snowden, develop as a well-rounded character from the beginning of the series. She’s smart, she’s determined, and she has a kind heart to help those in need around her. Julia’s family’s clambake is wrapping up the season on their private island and ramping up the remodel on the decrepit family historical mansion. One of their longtime employees is found murdered on the island when Julia and her brother-in-law arrive to prepare for one of the last clambakes of the season. Despite how a lot of people feel about her boyfriend’s ex-con brother and despite his physical fight with the victim, Julia agrees to find the truth and see justice done. I admire Julia’s loyalty to her boyfriend, Chris, and by extension, to his down-on-his-luck, brother. I also enjoy the close relationship the protagonist has with her family and the closeness they share by working together and socializing together frequently. It adds a heartwarming thread throughout the story. In addition to the murder mystery, Ms. Ross consistently adds a non-fiction thread through each story and I’ll admit, I always find them intriguing. It’s obvious she invests a lot of time researching so that the end result is believable and fits seamlessly into the tale. (Be sure to read the acknowledgements notating her research. This one is quite charming!) She also touches on social issues in this story that can’t help but make the reader give pause to think about the larger picture. Again Ms. Ross weaves these portions into the story without slowing down the plot which keeps the reader’s interest in turning the pages until the very suspenseful ending. Julia’s family is known for delicious food served at their clambake along with the food served at their family gatherings. It’s not uncommon for friends to join their gatherings and bring scrumptious dishes to share. The author kindly provides several recipes at the back of the book for the reader to drool over. I was provided an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Sealed Off earns 5/5 Clambake Mysteries...Entertaining Fun! Another Maine Clambake Mystery delight from Barbara Ross! It’s been a couple of year’s since Julia Snowden returned home to Busman’s Harbor to help run the family’s authentic clambake business, and butting heads with her brother-in-law never seems to let up. Currently it’s due to an employee “quadrangle” that interferes with the business operations. Jason is flirting with Emmy, Jason’s ex Prudence is not happy, then Terry, Julia’s boyfri Sealed Off earns 5/5 Clambake Mysteries...Entertaining Fun! Another Maine Clambake Mystery delight from Barbara Ross! It’s been a couple of year’s since Julia Snowden returned home to Busman’s Harbor to help run the family’s authentic clambake business, and butting heads with her brother-in-law never seems to let up. Currently it’s due to an employee “quadrangle” that interferes with the business operations. Jason is flirting with Emmy, Jason’s ex Prudence is not happy, then Terry, Julia’s boyfriend’s brother, seems to have a stake in the situation. Sonny wants Terry gone immediately, but Julia refuses to fire Terry suggesting instead they ride out the next two weeks when season ends for winter. Waiting, however, ends up murderous when Jason is found dead, and Terry, recently released from prison, is the prime suspect. Then if one (two) high-crimes isn’t enough, during renovations of the old Windsholme mansion a previously unknown “sealed” room is uncovered along with an intriguing diary from 1898 providing more angst than delight. Brilliant! Barbara Ross’s eighth book is filled with mystery, mystery, and more mystery. Using a first-person narrative from Julia’s perspective gave me a vicarious role in the drama. Her vivid descriptions paint the beautiful northeast island setting along with characters’ looks and mannerisms; she also helps set tone and emotions, a bit of humor, and illustrate personalities with expressive dialogue. The mysteries and the family dramas are complicated keeping me engaged, guessing, and quickly turning the page for solutions. A pet peeve of mine is the expectation of realism, so I was pleased with character reactions, responses, and the role of law enforcement...I like that. There were dramas carried over from previous books, but it didn’t take long to catch up and enjoy the story. “Recipes Included” always gets me excited, and these easy-to-follow recipes are truly delicious, although chops and pot roast at a clambake? Enjoy Greek Style Lamb Chops Sous Vide, Halibut Pizzaiola, Slow Cooker Cioppino, Olga’s Brownies, and Ma’s Pot Roast. I love this series, and am eager to read more! Disclosure: I received an ARC from Kensington thru NetGalley. My review is voluntary with honest insights and comments.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen Hollins-Stallman

    “Sealed Off“ is the 8th instalment in the lA Maine Clambake Mysteries” by Barbara Ross. It can be read as a stand alone but I do recommend reading from the beginning. Early October is “winding down” time in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but there’s nothing relaxing about it for Julia Snowden. Between busloads of weekend leaf peepers at the Snowden Family Clambake and a gut renovation of the old mansion on Morrow Island, she’s keeping it all together with a potentially volatile skeleton crew—until one “Sealed Off“ is the 8th instalment in the lA Maine Clambake Mysteries” by Barbara Ross. It can be read as a stand alone but I do recommend reading from the beginning. Early October is “winding down” time in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but there’s nothing relaxing about it for Julia Snowden. Between busloads of weekend leaf peepers at the Snowden Family Clambake and a gut renovation of the old mansion on Morrow Island, she’s keeping it all together with a potentially volatile skeleton crew—until one of them turns up dead under the firewood. When the Russian demo team clearing out the mansion discovers a room that’s been sealed off for decades, Julia’s baffled as to its purpose and what secrets it might have held. Tensions are already simmering with the crew, but when one of the workers is found murdered, things come to a boil. With the discovery of another body—and a mysterious diary with Cyrillic text in the hidden room—the pressure’s on Julia to dig up a real killer fast. But she’ll have to sort through a pile of suspects, including ex-spouses, a spurned lover, and a recently released prisoner, to fish out one clammed-up killer. I really enjoyed this story, being the first one I have read in the series I didn’t know what to expect. I really liked the main characters of Julia, Chris and the rest of the Snowden family. The setting of Busman Harbor, Maine was enchanting and made me want to visit the coast of Maine even more than I did. The island with the big summer mansion intrigued me and the history, I like how there was 2 mysteries going on in the story the murder but also one from the past. There were plenty of twists and turns throughout and I was kept guessing right till the end. I highly recommend this series and can’t wait to find out some answers in the next instalment. With that said I do own a few of the early books but I now plan on completing the set so I can binge read the first seven books. I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from Kensington Books and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I love this series. I love the setting and the characters and the way it is written. Every time I pick up a book in this series, I never want to put it down. (Darn it, being a responsible adult gets in the way of that.) What I liked about Sealed Off: A double mystery - In addition to the rambling list in my brief opening, there is always a mystery to be solved (I mean, *obviously*, given the genre, right?). This one had two and they never competed for your attention or your brain space. They were I love this series. I love the setting and the characters and the way it is written. Every time I pick up a book in this series, I never want to put it down. (Darn it, being a responsible adult gets in the way of that.) What I liked about Sealed Off: A double mystery - In addition to the rambling list in my brief opening, there is always a mystery to be solved (I mean, *obviously*, given the genre, right?). This one had two and they never competed for your attention or your brain space. They were each presented in their own way and followed their own path. I was kept guessing about both, and though I had some suspicion about one mystery (I was wrong), I hadn't a clue what to make of the other, but they both resolved in a satisfying manner. Character growth - I have established that I love the characters in this series. I also thoroughly enjoy the way they are developed. For being "just" a cozy mystery series, these characters have so much depth. (I have found that many in this genre are goofy and caricature-like. That is *not* the case with the Maine Clambake Mysteries.) And it isn't only the characters but their relationships with one another. I have read many books one might, as a reader, expect to have more substance than a "mere cozy mystery" and have fallen far short of the characters Ms Ross has gifted us in this series. A visit with some favorite peripheral characters - Marguerite and Tallulah!! Oh, I enjoyed exploring Windsholme with them. What I didn't care for: As per usual, my complaint column is virtually bare. A couple of minor editing issues in the edition I read, but beyond that, I cannot think of a single issue I had with this book. I have just one holiday novella left until I am current in this series and will have to wait for more time in Busman's Harbor. I could weep just at the thought!

  22. 5 out of 5

    RO G'ma

    Sealed Off is the eighth book in Barbara Ross’ Maine Clambake Mystery series. There is sufficient background information provided to allow this book to be read as a standalone. This is a well-plotted murder mystery with a great cast of characters. The story moves at a steady pace, with two mysteries to keep the reader engaged. Julia Snowden and her boyfriend, Chris Durand, live in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. During the off-season, they operate their fine dining restaurant and bar. During the summer Sealed Off is the eighth book in Barbara Ross’ Maine Clambake Mystery series. There is sufficient background information provided to allow this book to be read as a standalone. This is a well-plotted murder mystery with a great cast of characters. The story moves at a steady pace, with two mysteries to keep the reader engaged. Julia Snowden and her boyfriend, Chris Durand, live in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. During the off-season, they operate their fine dining restaurant and bar. During the summer months, Julia helps with her family’s business, the Snowden Family Clambake, which provides boat tours and authentic clambakes on Morrow Island, their private island. The season is winding down, and there will only be a handful of clambakes before winter sets in and Julie and Chris re-open their restaurant for the winter months. Between the clambakes, a Russian demolition crew working on Windsholme to prepare it for renovation in the spring, disagreements between a few employees, and a visit from her mother’s ninety-six-year-old distant cousin, Marguerite Morales, who grew up in Windsholme, Julie has her hands full. The last thing Julie needs is to find the body of Jason Caraway, a longtime member of the fire pit crew, and a sealed-off room along with a journal that was written by Lilly Smythe, a governess, in 1898 that contained some disturbing entries. When Chris’ brother, Terry Durand, who was recently released from prison, becomes the prime suspect, Chris asks Julie to look into matters and prove his innocence. I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    I will admit I'm some what biased when it comes to this series because I have visited Boothbay Harbor (the town this is based on) countless times and love it. I'm inclined to love a book that has so many places that I can identify, even if the names have changed--Squirrel Island has become Chipmunk Island. That being said, I enjoy the series for other reasons as well. The characters are down-to-earth and realistic. Relationships continue to evolve (and sometimes devolve) and a love of family is I will admit I'm some what biased when it comes to this series because I have visited Boothbay Harbor (the town this is based on) countless times and love it. I'm inclined to love a book that has so many places that I can identify, even if the names have changed--Squirrel Island has become Chipmunk Island. That being said, I enjoy the series for other reasons as well. The characters are down-to-earth and realistic. Relationships continue to evolve (and sometimes devolve) and a love of family is at the heart of this series. It is fun to see how things change from book to book. Ross often uses plots that are very relevant to the place and time of a tourist dependent Maine coast town instead of generic plot that can and has be used in any number cozy series where the only change is the trappings of location. Another murder on the Snowden family island drives the mystery plot in this book. There are plenty of possible suspects and red herrings to keep it interesting. While I guessed the culprit before the end I hadn't figured out all the twists and turns of why and how. I loved the diary extracts of the governess on the island when it was being used as a summer residence for Snowden family in the late 1890s. It gives some details about the glamorous summer residences of the rich families during their heyday that dot the Maine coast. It also shows that things weren't always as rosy as one imagines in those "romantic" times. But it was nice to find out what happened to the governess at the end of the book. I look forward to visiting Busman's Harbor in the next book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Missi Martin (Stockwell)

    I love getting lost in a good book, especially when they are part of a series and you've read the previous books and that is exactly how it was for me reading Sealed Off by Barbara Ross. Sealed Off is the eighth book in Ross's Maine Clambake Mystery series and the reader cannot help but love hanging around with main character, Julia Snowden. Julia is a very, very busy person running her family clambake business along with her sister, brother-in-law and mother but add a dead body and Julia turns i I love getting lost in a good book, especially when they are part of a series and you've read the previous books and that is exactly how it was for me reading Sealed Off by Barbara Ross. Sealed Off is the eighth book in Ross's Maine Clambake Mystery series and the reader cannot help but love hanging around with main character, Julia Snowden. Julia is a very, very busy person running her family clambake business along with her sister, brother-in-law and mother but add a dead body and Julia turns into a super hero on steroids !! Julia and her family are at the end of the season and trying to get through the last 2 weeks of clambakes before closing for the winter unfortunately 2 of their employees get into a fight at the end of one of the bakes and the next day one of them is found dead.....and three of the employees didnt show up for work....one of them being the brother of Julia's boyfriend. Sealed Off is full of secrets, some recent and some many, many years in the past....with Julia taking charge of finding out everything she can. Ross has a great knack of grabbing the readers attention as soon as you open up the book and keeps you chargin through until the very last page. You cannot help but love Julia, her family, the clambake business, all the secrets and the way Julia finds out everything she can. You cannot help but love her devotion to her family, friends and her town, her determination to ensure everyone is safe, and the way she makes it look so easy !!! I totally enjoy the time I spend with Julia in Busman's Harbor and look forward to my next visit.......

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnston

    Princess Fuzzypants here: The clambake season is winding down but emotions are heating up amongst the employees. Chris’ brother, newly released from prison, is working with Jason with whom he has a nebulous history. On the surface the cause appears to be single mom Emily. But as events progress, it is clearly something far deeper and more sinister. And when Jason turns up dead, Chris’ brother heads the list of possible suspects. Chris asks Julia to look into it. Initially, Julia is apprehensive, Princess Fuzzypants here: The clambake season is winding down but emotions are heating up amongst the employees. Chris’ brother, newly released from prison, is working with Jason with whom he has a nebulous history. On the surface the cause appears to be single mom Emily. But as events progress, it is clearly something far deeper and more sinister. And when Jason turns up dead, Chris’ brother heads the list of possible suspects. Chris asks Julia to look into it. Initially, Julia is apprehensive, as more information comes to lights, there are additional motives for murder. But she keeps plugging away to the chagrin of her friends in the local police force. They no longer have control of the crime as more outside forces are brought in. What could be so high priority about the death of a local to cause all this attention? At the same time Julia and her family are trying to unravel the mystery of a governess whose diary they find in a bricked off room on the family estate. In spite of the more than 120 year gap, is it possible that the two mysteries might interconnect? Julia learns the answer but puts her life at risk by doing so. It’s an exciting and rewarding finish to an interesting story. It shows how the past is never gone and sometimes the real story is far different than it appears. Four purrs and two paws up.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Julia Snowden's clambake company is just about finished for the season, holding the meals on Morrow island off the coast of Maine. Meanwhile, the beautiful mansion on the island is being careful demolition on the interior by a crew of Russian men after it had been destroyed by fire. A mysterious room is discovered on the third floor, just off the nursery - it had been sealed off from the nursery, and doors covered over and all the furniture and belongings left in place. A handwritten journal is Julia Snowden's clambake company is just about finished for the season, holding the meals on Morrow island off the coast of Maine. Meanwhile, the beautiful mansion on the island is being careful demolition on the interior by a crew of Russian men after it had been destroyed by fire. A mysterious room is discovered on the third floor, just off the nursery - it had been sealed off from the nursery, and doors covered over and all the furniture and belongings left in place. A handwritten journal is found in a dresser drawer. The room was occupied by a governess in late 1890s; she was helping the two sons with their math and German. She describes an idyllic summer, but the end of the journal describes a disturbing event. Meanwhile, Julia discovers the body of a clambake worker by the woodpile. He was a long time employee of the clambake, and suspicion immediately fell on another employee, who had had a vicious fistfight with him. Since he is Julia's boyfriend's brother, she consents to investigate. I enjoyed this story about the sealed off room and the journal. It made for an intriguing mystery. I hope to read more in this series. Many thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy of this novel.

  27. 4 out of 5

    FMSWarrior

    Summer is winding down and the Snowden family is wrapping up the Summer at their island clambake business. When an employee is murdered, everyone thinks another employee is guilty because he had spent time in prison, but he swears he is innocent and Julia agrees to help prove his innocence. But there are so many secrets that Julia has to get through before she can even begin to see the truth. While wrapping up business for the season, the Snowden family also has an elderly relative visiting, to Summer is winding down and the Snowden family is wrapping up the Summer at their island clambake business. When an employee is murdered, everyone thinks another employee is guilty because he had spent time in prison, but he swears he is innocent and Julia agrees to help prove his innocence. But there are so many secrets that Julia has to get through before she can even begin to see the truth. While wrapping up business for the season, the Snowden family also has an elderly relative visiting, to see the family’s summer home that is being renovated. As they take the family on a tour of the house, a hidden room has been exposed and they find the diary of a young girl who worked for the family in the Summer of 1890. With the room and personal belongings intact, the Snowden family is pulled in by the young woman’s story that ends abruptly. Who was she and what happened to her? A lovely mystery within the overall story. This is a great series I discovered earlier this year that also has quite a few earlier books for me to enjoy while I wait for the next entry in this series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    Julia has no time to relax, there are buses of people ready to enjoy her families Clambake and they have just begun a few renovations to the mansion located in their island. Things seem to be going well that is until the renovation crew finds a sealed off room. No one can figure out why the room would be closed off and attentions are turned elsewhere when one of the crew is found dead. A diary was found in the sealed off room, did it have something to do with the mans death or was it simply a ca Julia has no time to relax, there are buses of people ready to enjoy her families Clambake and they have just begun a few renovations to the mansion located in their island. Things seem to be going well that is until the renovation crew finds a sealed off room. No one can figure out why the room would be closed off and attentions are turned elsewhere when one of the crew is found dead. A diary was found in the sealed off room, did it have something to do with the mans death or was it simply a case of hate. Julia knows that she must investigate and figure out who the killer is. She can't have such a huge problem hanging over her family's business and they need to finish up the renovations so as not to lose money. With so many people in the suspect pool Julia realizes she has to start knocking people off the list. Will she be able to pull out a killer among all these suspects or will she be left swimming alone in the deep end.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    About a 3.4. I was a little disappointed, I confess, because I expected too much. This is another mystery, well written, interesting characters. There are two mysteries, actually, one set in the past; it was the more interesting to me, but the revelations sputtered instead of popped. Our heroine leaps to an unsupported conclusion and tries to make us buy it. The present day mystery left unanswered questions and end-loaded information. Shortly put, this is not a whodunit and if you think it is, y About a 3.4. I was a little disappointed, I confess, because I expected too much. This is another mystery, well written, interesting characters. There are two mysteries, actually, one set in the past; it was the more interesting to me, but the revelations sputtered instead of popped. Our heroine leaps to an unsupported conclusion and tries to make us buy it. The present day mystery left unanswered questions and end-loaded information. Shortly put, this is not a whodunit and if you think it is, you'll have a let down. The pertinent info shows up in about the last quarter of the book. Not bad, but not great but then I prefer whodunits-- where the reader is introduced to all the suspects and has to figure out which of them did it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    This is the 8th installment of the Maine Clambake Mystery series. I've only read a few in this series and they can be read out of order. This one has great suspense at the end and a tricky mystery to solve. My heart was pumping as our heroine raced for safety. The Snowden Family Clambake business is wrapping up the busy season in Busman's Harbor, Maine. Julia Snowden is starting to get excited about the renovation of the island house where she will be living during the summers. However, a death o This is the 8th installment of the Maine Clambake Mystery series. I've only read a few in this series and they can be read out of order. This one has great suspense at the end and a tricky mystery to solve. My heart was pumping as our heroine raced for safety. The Snowden Family Clambake business is wrapping up the busy season in Busman's Harbor, Maine. Julia Snowden is starting to get excited about the renovation of the island house where she will be living during the summers. However, a death on the island which seems to lead back to her boyfriend's brother is casting a pall on the early autumn days. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book. https://readingdownunder.blogspot.com... #NetGalley #SealedOff

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