From the publisher—
With the holidays gone and Hillside Manor almost empty, Innkeeper Judith McMonigle Flynn has a bad case of the blues. A housesitting stint at her aunt and uncle’s retirement home on Whoopee Island with cousin Renie seems like the ideal pick-me-up. Surrounded by retirees in the off-season sounds peaceful and pleasant–or so the duo thinks. But it isn’t long before a dead body pops up in their vicinity. Not surprising in an area full of older folks—until they learn it wasn’t a bad ticker that did in the victim, but a very sharp knife. With clouds of suspicion hovering over her and Renie, Judith reluctantly begins sleuthing—if only to prove they didn’t commit the crime.
But what she finds is puzzling. The victim reputedly didn’t have an enemy in the world–except for the killer. Digging for clams and answers, the cousins discover that retirement can be deadly—at least among the eclectic, eccentric residents of Obsession Shores.
It’s kind of mindboggling that this series has lasted so long (#29!) but even more so that it has held up pretty darn well. It follows the tried and true formula of amateur sleuth continually coming across bodies and feeling that she simply must solve the crime but, somehow, author Mary Daheim manages to keep things fresh.
Innkeeper Judith and her cousin, Renie—a truly obnoxious individual but one who sort of fits like an old glove—have been left behind by their vacationing men so Judith has left the bed & breakfast in capable hands and they’ve gone off to housesit for Auntie Vance and Uncle Vince on Whoopee Island. The two will be proxies at a community meeting about installing sewer lines but, lo and behold, within hours of arriving, Judith and Renie have discovered a body. Naturally, sleuthing ensues. Is the battle over sewer lines versus septic tanks really that desperate? What did this poor guy do to deserve being offed? And does Judith’s family history have something to do with all this?
Clam Wake is fun, no doubt about it and, although it may not be the very best in the series, I found a lot of comfort in returning to the Pacific Northwest and spending a little time with Judith, Renie and assorted family, friends and pets, especially Judith’s cantankerous mother, Gert, and equally crabby cat, Sweetums. I missed Joe and Bill, though, and hope to see the husbands again in Ms. Daheim’s next book.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2014.
About the Author
Seattle native Mary Richardson Daheim lives three miles from the house where she was raised. From her dining nook she can see the maple tree in front of her childhood home. Mary isn’t one for change when it comes to geography. Upon getting her journalism degree from the University of Washington (she can see the campus from the dining nook, too), she went to work for a newspaper in Anacortes WA. Then, after her marriage to David Daheim, his first college teaching post was in Port Angeles where she became a reporter for the local daily. Both tours of small-town duty gave her the background for the Alpine/Emma Lord series. Mary spent much of her non-fiction career in public relations (some would say PR is fiction, too). But ever since she learned how to read and write, Mary wanted to tell stories that could be put between book covers (e-readers were far into the future and if she hadn’t seen her daughter’s iPad, she might not know they exist). Thus, she began her publishing career with the first of seven historical romances before switching to mysteries in 1991. If Mary could do the math, she’d know how many books she’s published. Since she can’t, she estimates the total is at least 55. Or something. At the time of her husband and mentor’s death in February 2010, David and Mary had been married for over 43 years. They have three daughters, Barbara, Katherine and Magdalen, and two granddaughters, Maisy and Clara. They all live in Seattle, too. Those apples don’t move far from the tree…literally.
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