TOWN IN A LOBSTER STEW by B.B. Heywood, Berkley Prime Crime, New York, 2011, paperback, 374 pages, $7.99.
Amateur sleuth Candy Holliday returns in this second mystery by the Cape Elizabeth team of Beth and Robert Feeman, writing under the pen name of B.B. Haywood.
Holliday is from away, but, like many Mainers, she works many jobs: farmer, piemaker, baker’s assistant and community columnist for the local weekly newspaper.
She’s also a reluctant detective. When there’s a mystery that needs solving in the small coastal town of Cape Wellington, people come to Candy.
In “Lobster Stew,” it’s the elderly Wilma Mae Wendell who seeks Candy’s help. One of her prized possessions, an award-winning lobster stew recipe given to her by her neighbor and one-time lover James Sedley, has disappeared from its secret hiding place in her home.
Then Sedley goes missing as well, and later turns up dead. This is followed by another murder, of one of the entrants in the town’s annual lobster stew competition. Candy is convinced that the two killings are connected to the missing recipe, but how?
Candy may be an unwilling sleuth, but her sense of right and wrong just won’t let her leave a mystery unsolved. She cares too much, again to her detriment, as she finds herself in peril as she digs deeper. Candy and her cohorts pick through an assortment of suspects before the actual culprit is revealed and the case is somewhat neatly tied up.
“Town in a Lobster Stew” is a savory read, which brings the people of coastal Maine to life. It leaves Candy Holliday fans with a taste for more of her misadventures.