Fogged Inn“Jule-YA, there’s a dead guy in the walk-in.”

Howdy. My name is Gus Farnham, proprietor of Gus’s, an exclusive restaurant in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. I been here before and explained all that bit.

My days have been pretty much the same for the last fifty years. At five a.m., I take the pies made by my wife, Mrs. Gus, over t’ the restaurant and open’er up. Got to get an early start to feed breakfast to the lobstermen and fishermen. I turn on the lights, start the big coffee urn, and go into the walk-in refrigerator to get the ingredients to start the pancake batter.

A couple a days ago, I was minding my own business, following my routine, but when I switched on the light in the walk-in, there was a dead guy in there, staring up at me. Poor man had slipped his wind overnight.

Right away, I called up to my tenant, Julia Snowden, who lives in the apartment upstairs. She and her boyfriend Chris run my restaurant for suppah. Of course, Chris was up at Julia’s, too, sleeping over. I don’t much like it, but Mrs. Gus says I need to start living in this century, so I keep my mouth shut. I had to admit with the freezing fog, the roads had been mighty greasy the night before. Maybe it was best Chris didn’t go home.

Julia came running. She said the dead man had eaten in the restaurant that evening. Then the cops showed up, and the EMTs, and half the fire department. I told them they didn’t need to make such a fuss. The man was clearly dead. After that, our part-time local medical examiner arrived. She wouldn’t sign off on the cause of death, so the real state medical examiner came from Augusta, along with the state police, and all hell broke loose.

No one knows who the man is. Julia and Chris say he came in by himself, sat at the bar, and paid with cash. The cops say the man had no I.D., and the Snugg sisters over at the B&B where he was staying don’t know anymore than we do.

Julia says there weren’t many other people in the restaurant that night because of the weather, just four couples, who were all trapped there for hours by a bad car accident at the corner of Main and Main. She says none of them talked to the dead man, but she has a bee in her bonnet that they’re all related—the victim, the other diners, and the accident—though there is absolutely no proof of this at all.

I say Julia and Chris left the restaurant door unlocked and the man wandered into the walk-in and died. They swear the outside door was locked, but they’re young and careless. They’ve left it unlocked before, more than once, though they always deny it. And yet it was. Can’t argue with experience.

Julia is determined to figure out who the man was, how he died and who was involved. I don’t care who figures it out—Julia, the state cops, or the man in the moon. All I want is to get the crime scene tape off my walk-in, my restaurant opened up, and life back to normal.

Fogged Inn is the fourth book in the Maine Clambake mystery series, published by Kensington, February 2016.

An autumn chill has settled over Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden is warming up the town by offering lobster stew at the local diner. When her landlord discovers a dead body in the walk-in refrigerator, Julia must figure out who ordered up a side of murder.

Nothing’s colder than a corpse–especially one stashed inside a sub-zero fridge. The victim spent his last night on earth dining at the restaurant bar, so naturally Julia finds herself at the center of the ensuing investigation. Lost in the November fog, however, is who’d want to kill the unidentified stranger–and why. It might have something to do with a suspicious group of retirees and a decades-old tragedy to which they’re all connected. One thing’s for sure: Julia’s going to make solving this mystery her early bird special. . .

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All comments are welcomed.

About the author
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries, Clammed Up, Boiled Over and Musseled Out. Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. The fourth book in the series, Fogged Inn was published on February 23, 2016.

Barbara blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors.

Giveaway: Barbara is offering an autographed copy of Fogged Inn to two lucky commenters who comment below. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end March 3, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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