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Iced Under by Barbara Ross
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Iced Under by Barbara Ross is the 5th in the Maine Clambake Mystery series. Once again, Julia Snowden is involved in a couple of mysteries, but this time, not in Busman's Harbor. This is a fresh idea that really pulled me in to this story. It is February and there is an impending storm coming. Chris is off in Florida helping a friend set up his boat for the tourists so Julia decides to visit her mom. Jacqueline asks her to pick up her mail at the post office on the way. As well, Livvie is expecting to deliver the new baby anytime. When an anonymous, mysterious package that was in the mail is opened, a family mystery is revealed.

As the story unfolds we learn about long lost relatives, family betrayals, tightly held secrets and a history that many would consider shady. This history helps us to understand Jacqueline and the life that shaped her. Once again, Julia uses her brain, her computer and her research skills to follow the clues and information to unravel the mystery of the "Black Widow". There is a murder in this book, but it is actually secondary to the family mystery. Julia's love for family and her moral compass push her to dig deeper to solve the mysteries.

The new characters in this story are wonderful. They are accepting, honest and loving. The plot pulled me right in and I kept reading quite late in the night to finish this one and find out what happened. This book was much more emotional than the others in this series. When family is such an integral part of the story like it was in this book, it is easy to become more involved with the characters. The historical information imparted in the story was quite interesting and not something I had heard of before. I will definitely do a bit more reading to find out more. It was obvious to me that this had been quite well researched. This book took a different route than the others in the series, but was still just as good and entertaining as well. I am looking forward to what Barbara Ross has in store for us with her next book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
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  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
This fulfilled all the requirements for a cosy, undemanding mystery. This is the fifth book in the series and I haven't read any of the previous books, but this works as a standalone. The storyline from the previous story were gracefully incorporated into the narrative and the characters were well-developed. The mystery involves missing jewels and family members and lost connections, so there's nothing remotely brutal or violent in here. There are some delicious descriptions of food and recipes are included at the end. Soothing and comforting, for when you need the pleasures of an entertaining quick read. ( )
  subabat | Mar 19, 2018 |
Julia Snowden lives in Busman's Harbor, Maine, and experiencing a harsh winter. With her boyfriend Chris in Florida, and the restaurant they run part-time closed for the winter, she's planning on spending some time with her mother. While heading out to visit Jacqueline (Julia's mother), asks her daughter to pick up the mail on her way over. Along with the regular mail, Julia is given a package for her mother, simply wrapped, with no return address. After arriving at Jacqueline's, they open it and discover a beautiful necklace, of which the center is a huge black diamond. Jacqueline identifies it as being The Black Widow, which belonged at one time to an ancestor. Along with the necklace is a simple note: "For Windsholme".

Windsholme is the mansion on Julia's family-owned Morrow Island, where they hold their summer clambakes. It was once beautiful but has recently burned to a shell. It is obvious the necklace is meant to rebuild the once majestic home; but questions abound: Someone knew about the fire, but who sent it? Is it real? Where has it been all these years? There are other questions as well, and Jacqueline has asked Julia's help in finding out who sent the necklace.

She does her due diligence: contacts their attorney, has the necklace appraised, and put away for safekeeping. But then comes her real investigation, so she heads to the local historical society to discover more about her family, hoping to find the clues she needs. What she discovers there sends her to Boston, where she finds something that changes her world as she knows it...

When Julia arrives in Boston, she learns that not only does she have family there, but they know all about her. Stunned by this revelation, she also finds that they think she's there for a very different purpose: Jacqueline's long-lost cousin Hugh has recently died, and they believe she's there for the funeral. Since Jacqueline has believed him dead over forty years, it is another revelation for Julia to digest, along with the fact that his death may have very well been murder. But who would want to murder a man who only had weeks to live anyway?

While she is thrust into this mystery, she doesn't tell anyone about the necklace, trying to find out if any of her 'new' relatives sent it. What she does find out is more about her family, how they know about her and her mother; and why they've kept this secret for years without contacting them. Although it's a bittersweet reunion of sorts, she still needs to find out if her mother owns the necklace outright, or if any of these people have a claim. What is true, however, is that not all of her newfound family wants her there, but at least one might be a killer...

There were plenty of twists and turns, each leading to a new discovery regarding Jacqueline's family; and enough of a mystery to keep me reading to the end. When we finally do come to the ending, there is sadness tinged with happiness; loss of family with gain; and the anticipation that the next book in the series will not only bring new adventures for Julia and her family, but perhaps brings one or more of the new members along for the ride. Highly recommended.

Full review: http://joannesbooks.blogspot.com/2016/12/iced-under-maine-clambake-mystery-5.htm... ( )
  joannefm2 | Dec 29, 2016 |
Iced Under by Barbara Ross is the fourth book in A Maine Clambake Mystery series. It is February in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Julia Snowden is on her way to her mother’s house and stops to pick up the mail. There is a package for Jacqueline, Julia’s mother. Upon opening it, they discover a beautiful necklace inside with a note that states “For Windsholme” (the old family summer home that recently suffered fire damage). The necklace is called the Black Widow (contains a rare black diamond) and has been missing for almost a hundred years. There is no return address on the package and, as far as Jacqueline knows, she has no other family. Julia starts delving into her family history (hoping to find family for her mother) which sends Julia on a journey to Boston. It turns out that Julia and Jacqueline do have family, but one member just passed away. Jacqueline is to receive a nice inheritance from this lost relative (Hugh) but others are not happy about this revelation. Julia gets to meet new relatives, find out one of them is deceased, her sister is about to have her baby, a big snow storm is about to descent upon the area, and then the police show up. It turns out that Hugh did not die of natural causes. The suspect list is limited to the people inside Hugh’s home. Which one of them did in poor Hugh? Then an attempt is made on the matriarch’s life just after she stated she was going to change her will! Julia needs to flee and then find the culprit before the killer strikes again. Will Julia be successful? Join Julia on her latest escapade in Iced Under.

Iced Under is my favorite book in the series. I enjoyed Julia’s search into her family history and how the Black Widow disappeared in the 1920s. I wish the mystery behind the matriarch’s attempted murder had been as puzzling (easily solved). Hugh’s death is also easily figured out (one question will give you the answer). Iced Under is well-written and has a good pace. While Iced Under is the fifth book in the series, it can be read alone. The author provides the needed information on the characters and previous books for the reader to catch up. I liked that we get to know more about Julia’s ancestors and her mother’s history. I found the history of ice very interesting (did not realize that it was such a cut-throat business). I found Iced Under a nice change of pace from the other books in the series. It was nice to get away from the family business. I give Iced Under 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). I did feel that the ending was too abrupt. There needed to be a little more to the last chapter or an epilogue. I will be reading the next book in A Maine Clambake Mystery series. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Dec 28, 2016 |
Iced Under is the fifth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series.

As always, another enjoyable story from Barbara Ross.

Winter has arrived in Busman’s Harbor, Maine and Julia and the rest of the Snowden family are taking a much-needed break from hosting Clambakes on Morrow Island.

Julia gets a phone call from her mother who is having a touch of cabin fever and asks her to come over for lunch and ask Julia if she would stop at the post office and collect her mail first. Once they open the box, they find a beautiful diamond necklace and a handwritten note that only says: For Windsholme. From what mom remembers about the necklace, it’s whereabouts have been unknown for almost a hundred years.

All Julia has is the postmark on the package as to who might have mailed the extremely valuable necklace. Her first stop is the local historical society to learn more about her family and a couple genealogical sites. She learns that Hugh, a cousin her mother hasn’t seen since one summer in her late teen years, might still be alive and living in Boston. Once arriving she finds more relatives that no one even knew about. Julia spends the time with the relatives filling in some gaps that were created in her early searches. Foremost on her mind is finding out who and why the necklace was sent to her mother and hopefully to find out where it has been some hundred years.

Another well interesting, exciting and well-written story.

Will definitely be watching for the next book in the series. ( )
  FredYoder | Dec 27, 2016 |
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Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia's great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s. Who could have sent it-and why? Julia's search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother's troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in "frozen water" to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline's long-lost cousin Hugh-who'd been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother's inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh's demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all...… (more)

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