MUDDLED THROUGH by Barbara Ross is the tenth book in the Maine Clambake Mysteries. A long-time fan of this delightful series, I eagerly await with anticipation to find out what feature of Maine the author will reveal for the new release. In this newest addition, it’s mud season and I enjoyed the skillful way the theme was woven into the storyline. Of course, the setting of Maine isn’t the only thing that brings me back again and again to the series. With strong characters, unique settings, and tightly plotted mysteries, Ms. Ross continues to be a fan favorite. If you’re new to the series, you can read this as a standalone, but trust me, you’ll greatly enjoy starting at the beginning and following the journey of protagonist Julia Snowden, along with her family and friends. Julia is a strong young woman, but with the last book, life has thrown some challenges at her with the demise of her relationship to Chris, and losing both her apartment and her winter job running a supper restaurant. She’s still trying to figure things out but, in the meantime, murder strikes Busman’s Harbor again, this time affecting her sister, Livvie’s boss and friend, Zoey.
The action starts right from the very first page and continues with plenty of intriguing suspects. I appreciate the loyalty Julia shows to both Livvie and Zoey, despite circumstances and clues pointing at Zoey’s guilt over the death of her cantankerous shop neighbor. Thrown into the mix is a controversial pedestrian mall that is dividing the town. As Julia hunts for clues and talks to townspeople, it becomes apparent there are several people hiding secrets, including the prime suspect, Zoey. With a fast-paced plot, I quickly turned the pages to find out what happened next and with an edge-of-your-seat reveal I didn’t see coming, the threads of the story wrapped up into a memorable read.
As with previous books, there are recipes included that showcase the flavors of Maine and/or have a family connection to the author like the recipe for Mrs. Gus’s Cardamom Pecan Pie. In real life, the pie is a variation that the author’s sister-in-law makes for Thanksgiving. In the book, Mrs. Gus, wife to the owner of the townspeople only café, makes the pies to sell in the restaurant when local fresh fruit isn’t available during winter and early spring. I loved that the pie uses maple syrup instead of the usual corn syrup. With plenty of sweetness and a generous amount of pecans, the hint of cardamom elevates the flavor to scrumptious!
Mud season takes on a whole new meaning in the coastal town of Busman’s Harbor, Maine, when local business owners sling dirt at one another in a heated feud over a proposed pedestrian mall. Vandalism is one thing, but murder means Julia Snowden of the Snowden Family Clambake steps in to clean up the case . . .
When Julia spots police cars in front of Lupine Design, she races over. Her sister Livvie works there as a potter. Livvie is unharmed but surrounded by smashed up pottery. The police find the owner Zoey Butterfield digging clay by a nearby bay, but she has no idea who would target her store. Zoey is a vocal advocate for turning four blocks of Main Street into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. Other shop owners, including her next-door neighbor, are vehemently opposed. Could a small-town fight provoke such destruction? When a murder follows the break-in, it’s up to Julia to dig through the secrets and lies to uncover the truth . . .
A special thanks to Barbara Ross for providing a print copy of MUDDLED THROUGH. Contest ends June 29, 2022 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. residents only. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
Mrs. Gus gets up at 4:00 every morning to bake the pies for her husband's restaurant. In the winter and spring when fresh local fruit is unavailable, Mrs. Gus gets creative with non-fruit options. In the real world this is a variation on the pie my sister-in-law, Maria Kent, makes every other Thanksgiving for the big Carito family gatherings. Though it seems like there are a thousand dessert offerings available at that feast, I always go for this one.
Serves 8 to 10
- Make or buy your favorite single-crust pie crust
- 1 cup real maple syrup
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 4 tablespoons butter, cubed and softened
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2 cups pecan halves
Roll out dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
Toast the pecan halves by spreading them on a baking tray and baking them for 8 - 10 minutes. Allow them to cool.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
Combine maple syrup, light brown sugar, whipping cream, and molasses in a sauce pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool 5 minutes. Whisk in butter, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk in egg yolks.
Spread pecans evenly over the crust. Pour syrup mixture over pecans.
Place in preheated oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees (F). Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until filling is set and center giggles slighty when gently shaken.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
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I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
No I haven’t been stuck in the mud. Thanks for the chance!
I haven’t gotten stuck in the mud but I remember a tractor getting majorly stuck one especially wet spring. I’ve gotten stuck in the snow a time or two though.
Not mud but did get stuck in a dry riverbed in AZ .. when my boyfriend (now husband) years ago decided it would be fun to take the short cut across the riverbed to get to the otherside. Luckily someone with a brand new big 4 wheel drive truck came driving down the riverbed looking for ways to try his new truck out so he towed us out for another adventure. Upside – we didn’t have to tell my dad!
My “To Be Reviewed” pile, unlike my “To Be Read” shelves, is down to zero. I’d love to win this! Thanks for the chance to do so.
I have never gotten stuck in the mud.
No I can honestly say I have never got stuck in the mud. Thanks for your amazing generosity.
As talented as I am, I got a Jeep stuck in the mud at deer camp and had to be winched out of the mess.
Don’t think I’ve been stuck in the mud.
Have gotten stuck in snow.
Pie looks delicious. thanks
I’ve never been stuck in the mud, but I sure have been stuck in the snow a few times. Congratulations on the new book! It sounds wonderful.
Ah, mud season in Maine. Just add in black flies and no seeums!
I haven’t gotten stuck in the mud, but maybe in snow. I was able to get out without aid. Mud season isn’t too bad in the Midwest and Northwest, where I’ve lived. Congrats on the new book. Thanks for a chance to win!
I have never been stuck in mud, but I have been stuck in ice and snow! Either way, it’s scary! Can’t wait to read the new book, love this series!
I have gotten stuck in the mud – both personally and with a car.
Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “MUDDLED THROUGH” by Barbara Ross.
Thank you for the Mrs. Gus’s Cardamom Pecan Pie recipe. I will be trying this one for sure.
Luckily, I have not!
Fortunately I’ve not been stuck; however, my husband drives a concrete mixer truck and he has been stuck. He also has a lawn care business and has had his mowers get stuck a couple times.
Thank you for the chance to win.
simmons dot catherine dot e at gmail dot com
I can’t recall ever getting stuck in the mud. Thank you for the chance.
Nope. Never got stuck in the mud. The recipe looks delicious! I haven’t had a pecan pie in a long time! Book sounds like a great addition to the series(which I love).
Oh yes, I have absolutely been stuck in the mud several times. Anyone who lives in either Missouri or Nebraska (I’ve lived in both states) can tell you that after a huge rain or snow fall, there’s going to be mud to pay lol.
I’ve always lived more towards rural areas so it just happens lol.
I absolutely LOVE Barbara Ross’ books! I am a long time fan. I read everything she writes!
Great giveaway and recipe!
Thank you for the chance!
We spent over 20 years vacationing at the same Kosher Dude Ranch in upstate NY. The rain could wash out some of the smaller roads and I didn’t have 4 wheel drive. I had an old Oldsmobile Station Wagon.
So YEAP I’ve been stuck and had to find someone to help us get moving again.
Mud no, snow yes!!
no mud, just snow!
I haven’t got stuck in the mud as of yet!
I’ve been stuck in snow, but not mud.
fortunately, no i haven’t gotten stuck in the mud.
i lover this series thanks for letting me know there was another one out.
I have been a passenger in a car that got stuck in the mud!
This is such a great series!
No. I have not been stick in the mud. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
I will try this a second time. No, I have not been stuck in the mud. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
I will try this a third time. I have not been stuck in the mud. Thank you for sharing.
I am not sure why my comments are not being left. I will try a fourth time. No. I have not been stuck in the mud.
I think I remember getting stuck in the mud – or maybe it was sand – many years ago!
Yes, I have gotten stuck in the mud several times, as a driver and a passenger. Thank you for this chance.
I have never been struck in mud. Hope I never will be.😃
Your pie looks delicious!
I have been stuck in the mud and we had to
Be pulled out.
No. I have never been stuck in the mud.
I’ve gotten stuck a lot of places and I’ve fallen in the mud as a child, but I’ve thankfully never been stuck in the mud.
No I’ve never gotten stuck in the mud. My son used to play in the mud when he was little. So much fun to clean up after.
No I have never gotten stuck in the mud
I’ve never gotten stuck in the mud, but hubby has gotten stuck at the bottom of a pretty big hill of a past driveway in snow before.
Yes, a long time ago. Even the inside of the car was muddy.
No I have never been stuck in the mud but the pie looks delicious!💞😊
I haven’t got stuck in the mud that I can remember .
No haven’t been stuck in mud
Luckily I have never been stuck in the mud!
Getting stuck in the mud has not been a problem for years. Not since we moved 27 years ago.
Never in mud!
No, I have not!
Never been stuck. Thanks for the chance!
I’ve most definitely gotten stuck in the mud but I was in a boat. We were out crabbing, which has to be in shallow water, but we miscalculated and ran aground. We had to lift the motor and paddle our way out which wasn’t easy because the oars sunk into the mud. Thankfully we caught a lot of crabs or the day would’ve been a total loss. LOL! Thanks for the giveaway!
Been stuck in snow or dune sand a time or two but luckily never mud.
No, I have never gotten stuck in the mud!
I don’t believe I have personally ever been stuck in mud but I know people who have! Thanks for the chance!
No, I have never been stuck in the mud.
I got stuck in the mud so bad one time my husband had to dig me out. As I drove away, mud splattered his face and clothes. I just kept on going. Whoops!
I got stuck in the mud with my mum once. Thank you for the chance.
No never stuck in the mud.
I have gotten stuck with my mum. Thank you for the chance.
No, I’ve never been stuck in mud
Yes in Ca lived in a rural area and we always got stuck and now live in a rural area here in Iowa and yes we have gotten stuck in the mud
I have not been stuck in the mud.
Yes. Last year we went on vacation and the first night we were there, my daughter and I ended up in water/mud that was about a foot deep. We were both laughing hysterically when the officer walked up to the car to see if he could help. He probably thought we were on something! We had to have the car towed out.
Oh yes, many times–both in a vehicle and while attempting to walk. I have lost many a shoe/boot to deep mud. It is impossible to do this and not fall over laughing at the absurdity of it. My sisters and I have been stuck and the others get stuck trying to get the first one out. Then, we usually fell over into the mud pit as we lost it laughing. Great memories, thank you!
I haven’t been stuck in mud but I’ve gotten stuck in snow and I’ve had my car stall when I tried to drive through a flooded intersection.