BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Clam Wake by Mary Daheim

Genre: Mystery
Series: Bed and Breakfast #29
Publisher: William Morrow
Format Read: Hardcover
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Number of Pages: 292
ISBN: 9780062317728
Purchase Links:  Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | Barnes & Noble |

Book Blurb from Tour Company:

Innkeeper and irrepressible sleuth Judith McMonigle Flynn and cousin Renie face off against a cold-blooded killer in a beach community in this delightfully charming Bed-and-Breakfast mystery from USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Mary Daheim. 

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.

Bea's Thoughts:

Although this was the first book in this series that I've read, I had no trouble reading it as a stand-alone. The series has been on my radar for years but I'd never gotten around to it and then this tour came along.

Twenty-nine books in, characters are pretty well set in their ways. It took me a while to warm up to Judith and Renie, the leads, and their exceedingly eccentric relatives. About a hundred pages, the book still hadn't grabbed me but slowly as I kept reading I became more involved. Who killed Ernie Glover and why? By all accounts, he was well liked and there were only mild grumbles about him. Was it connected to the battle over installing sewage pipes? Was he fooling around, as a few people suggested? Why do all the seniors on the island drink so much? I had serious concerns about the seniors and what looks to be a high rate of alcoholism among them. Granted, the island doesn't offer much in the way of entertainment and you're dependent on the ferry for transport to the mainland  but I wish Daheim had been less glib about the drinking; instead she made a running joke out if it. 

I also had a hard time warming up to Renie and to Aunt Vance; both are loud-mouthed, rude, and obnoxious. While many of the other characters found them refreshing and bracing I just found them obnoxious. Maybe if had more time invested in the series and knew them better, I might like them more. Judith on the other hand, while often grumpy, was more relatable, and easier on the nerves. I appreciated the fact that she respected the local police and tried to find a balance between sticking her nose in and minding her own business. Judith and her cousin Renie did play well off each other and were believable as cousins who were also friends. 

The mystery kept me guessing, there were lots of red herrings and twists and turns. The solution felt anti-climactic to me and Daheim left lots of loose ends. I have mixed feelings about loose ends - in the real world, they are inevitable and neatly tying everything up is unrealistic yet when reading, I do like to have at least most of the threads resolved. So whether the ending works for you or not will depend on your preference. 

Reading back, it seems as if I didn't enjoy the story but I did. I did have problems with it but I loved Daheim's description of the island and how realistic it felt. The characters may have been too quirky for me but they certainly weren't boring, and I will read more in the series. The story was flawed but enjoyable and once I made it past the first third of the book, I was hooked.


Author Bio:

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. See below—count ‘em if you can. 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.

Catch Up With the Author:



I have one print copy to give away to a US reader. Please read my Giveaway Policy. The giveaway ends at 11:59PM EST on Monday August 25th. 

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  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this mystery with us. I read several of the early books in the series and this looks like one I should add to my TBR stack.

  2. I read one of Daheim's books from another series and had mixed feelings about it but I did like the writing. Even though this was flawed it sounds like it could have some potential. I may have to pick it up if I see it at the library. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I would love to read this book—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  4. I would like to read this book and enjoy the author's writing. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Sounds like a series and writer that I might enjoy. I don't mind eccentric, though I'm not crazy about obnoxious characters. And I enjoy mysteries set in and around B&Bs. But 29 books in the series is a little intimidating! ;-)

  6. I'll keep this one in mind, thanks for pointing it out :) Bed and breakfast, beach, vacation.... sigh.

  7. I love reading about the cousins' adventures. Now that they're getting older it makes it more fun to see how they handle things.

  8. Thanks for the review. I'm relieved to hear that this book works just as well as a standalone. With so many series being published these days I'd go nuts trying to read every one in order.

  9. congrats & continued success to Mary!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

  10. Would love to win!

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  11. Twenty nine books in? Whoa xD I am one of those people who don't like to jump in the middle of a series, and this seems a bit too much of a pre-read for me to join the wagon of. I also am wary of long winding series. Are they all as good as should be? Hm...


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