Monday, June 11, 2018

Death and a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd

Under the pseudonym Cornelia Kidd, author Lea Wait launches another mystery series set in Maine. If the first in the series is an example, we're in for a delightful time. The first Maine Murder mystery is Death and a Pot of Chowder. Kidd is another author of a cozy mystery who manages to avoid the typical tropes of the first in a cozy series. Thank heavens.

At thirty-two, Anna Winslow has spent her entire life on Quarry Island. She has no regrets. She married her childhood sweetheart, Burt, who is a lobsterman. She's a stay-at-home wife and mother to their fourteen-year-old son, Jake. As she tells the story, she even reveals that when she and Burt lived on the other side of the small island for a short time, she was homesick for the side where she grew up with her mother, stepfather and grandmother. This small town woman is in for a rude awakening. She learns of a half-sister she never knew she had. And, there are shocking secrets on the island, a place where she thought she knew everyone and everything.

Anna never even knew her father's name until she receives a letter from Izzie Jordan saying she was Peter Jordan's other daughter. He had deserted her and her mother, and they were quickly divorced at a young age. Now, she'll never meet him, but now that he's dead, Izzie would like to meet Anna. Anna, who seldom even drives off island, heads to Portland to meet her. She learns Izzie has just graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and is eager to find a small place to become a chef. That's about all she learns before Anna is called home. Burt's brother, Carl, went out in his boat, and is missing. When a lobsterman's boat is found, with him not on it, it's usually not a good sign. Izzie insists on returning to Quarry Island to help however she can.

The discovery of Carl's body leads to a shakeup in the small island community. Carl was murdered, and Burt was the last one heard to have a loud argument with his brother. Burt's under suspicion. Jake is acting odd. Anna is relieved that Izzie is willing to step up, help at the house with the cooking, and, most of all, act as support while offering an outsider's viewpoint as to who might have wanted to kill Carl. It seems there are a few reasons to want him dead, but Burt really does have the most reasons.

Death and a Pot of Chowder is a well-developed, character-driven story. It's obvious the author is experienced. She introduces sympathetic, unpretentious characters in a homespun story. Quarry Island and the small community come to life in the book. And, the two likable sisters, complementary characters, are a promising duo for future mysteries. There's an engaging setting, wonderful characters, and, hopefully, a long future for this new series.

Lea Wait's website is

Death and a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd. Crooked Lane Books, 2018. ISBN 9781683315834 (hardcover), 336p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


SandyG265 said...

This is on my hold list at the library.

Lesa said...

It's a good one, Sandy.

Lea Wait said...

Thank you for this review, Lesa -- I'm honored! (And so is Cornelia Kidd!) Lea Wait

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Lea. I really enjoyed Cornelia's new book. I'm looking forward to this series.

Gram said...

Thia is already on my library list as I enjoy this author's other works.

Lesa said...

I hope you enjoy this one, too, Gram.