SHADOWS ON A MAINE MORNING
By Lea Wait
Publisher: Perseverance Press, 2016
Kindle edition: $4.99
An Antique Print mystery (Book 8)
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Maggie Summer is ready to move on to the next chapter in her life. She’s taken a sabbatical from teaching at a community college in New Jersey and is relocating her antique print business, Shadows, from New York. She and her significant other, Will Brewer, are renovating a large Victorian house in Waymouth, Maine into an antiques mall. She and several other dealers will show and sell their wares on the first floor of the building, and live in an apartment on the third floor.
She and Will met at an antiques show in New York two years prior, and have grown very close. He’d moved to Waymouth to care for his elderly Aunt Nellie, and she followed. Maggie has hit another milestone: she’s turning forty, and is hoping to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother by adopting Brook, a nine-year-old foster child. The fly in the ointment: Will told her from the beginning that he does not want to be a father.
Brook experienced a traumatic event when she was five, and her life in the foster system has not been easy. She gives Maggie plenty of attitude, expecting her to abandon her as so many have before. That happy life Maggie was planning for is not working out as she hoped it would. Brook is difficult, challenging her at every turn. She and Will take an instant dislike to each other; could things get any worse?
They could, and do. Someone is killing the seals in the harbor, which is illegal and heartbreaking. The local fishermen and lobstermen see seals as competition for the ocean’s bounty, but they know killing them is a federal crime. Someone, maybe a local, doesn’t seem to care about that. The cruel acts are upsetting to Maggie, especially since Brook loves the creatures. She carries with her always a ragged toy seal given to her by her mother when she was tiny. If the child were to see one of her beloved friends dead, it might do untold damage to her.
One evening that nightmare comes true. Brook and Aunt Nettie, who’s in a wheelchair, go out for ice cream. When Brook sees the dead seal, she bolts. Maggie enlists her friend Nick Strait, a Maine trooper, to help, and they finally track her down in a church. Brook is inconsolable, telling Maggie she never wants to come back to Waymouth. Maggie is in despair, wondering if she’ll ever win the child over.
The Waymouth crime spree escalates when a young fisherman is murdered. He is part of a close-knit group of young people who’ve known each other for most of their lives, and evidence suggests one of them may have done the deed. Maggie has become friends with the group, and doesn’t agree with Nick’s pick for prime suspect. Nick, who is one of Will’s best friends, has discouraged her in the past for getting involved in his cases, but she carries on.
Will she be able to help the police with their inquiries? Will Brook ever come to live in her new red room at Victorian House? Will her soul mate’s big secret derail all her plans? I highly recommend reading this delightful cozy to find out.
Maggie’s move to the small, beautiful, friendly town of Waymouth is a breath of fresh air. The setting, so much different than urban New Jersey, provides her with a bright new canvas for future adventures.
The plot is interesting, the characters well-rounded, but the heart of this story is family and friendship: the trials and tribulations, the joys and sorrows, the various combinations of what constitutes a family. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Maggie and her friends and loved ones. Highly recommended.
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