Death and a Pot of Chowder
by Cornelia Kidd
I know very little about Maine—small, cold, and famous for lobsters. All of that information is verified in Death and a Pot of Chowder, but I absorbed so much more about Maine by reading this cozy mystery by Cornelia Kidd. The characters are very interesting, especially the likable main character Anna Winslow. Having lost her job when her stepfather died, she is a stay-at-home mom to fourteen year old Jake and wife to Burt, a lobsterman. She enjoys her quiet life until she finds herself thrown in the middle of a murder investigation to clear Burt of charges at the same time she discovers she has a half-sister Ozzie, a young, ambitious, and talented chef.
I enjoyed the community of Quarry Island and references to Anne of Green Gables. I can identify with Anna turning to chocolate in times of stress! As an educator, I appreciate that the students on the island are cocooned a little as they attend school there through junior high and only travel to the mainland for high school. In such a setting I can conceive of the freedoms Jake and his friend Matt enjoy to roam the island.
The characters are not goody two-shoes, but most do have appeal as direct people who care about their neighbors. Anna is a strong woman, but also a woman who is willing to expand outside her current boundaries. She is open to new challenges and new relationships. I did wonder about her ties with her “stepfather” Seth. She was raised from birth as his child, but when she discovers that he is not her biological father, she never calls him “dad” again. Although I understand many children long for a relationship with their biological parents, it seems cold and out of character for her to emotionally discard him. As she was working for him as an office manager at the time of his death, I assume he did not respond by cutting ties with her. This is an interesting, but disappointing, twist to the story.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Crooked Lane Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. # 1 in the Maine Murder Mystery Series.
2. Recipes are found in the back of the book.
3. As Izzie is interested in historical cookbooks, each chapter starts with a quote from a cookbook which also includes tips for managing a household.
Publication: June 12, 2018—Crooked Lane Books
People joked that islanders had salt water in their veins. We were different, separate, and wary of off-islanders who commented on the beauty of the island, wondered at our isolation, and then left.
But first I was going to eat chocolate. If ever there was a day for chocolate, this was it.
I’d been like a mussel, glued to the rocks I’d always clung to. Now, everything had changed. I’d been tossed into the waves to survive. Would I find a new rock to cling to? Or be found by a laughing gull and dropped onto a ledge, smashed, and devoured.