Posted in Books, Creativity, Home

My Beach Reads by Barbara Ross

For me, a trip beach is inextricably linked to reading fiction.

When I was young, my father’s parents had a house in Water Mill, Long Island; my mother’s parents in Sea Girt, New Jersey. On the day school ended, my father’s mother would show up at our home in New Jersey in her white Thunderbird to pick up my brother and me, and we would take off for two weeks on the Long Island shore. In August, the ritual would be repeated, but with my mother’s parents, who arrived in a sensible Dodge, not a Thunderbird.

In both places, we went to the beach everyday there was “enough blue in the sky to make a Dutchman’s pants,” as my New Jersey grandmother would say. On Long Island, we played in the waves, went to the Penny Candy Store, visited a swimming pool that belonged to a family friend. In New Jersey we built sandcastles, took walks on the boardwalk, and played mini-golf.

And always, we read. We read on the beach, of course. To this day, reading when I am completely disconnected and relaxed, with waves breaking in the background, and the smell of salt in the air, is one of my favorite things. I remember just as fondly the rainy days at the beach, when it was possible to stretch out on the living room floor and read all day. In Water Mill, I plowed through my grandparents’ Agatha Christies and Dorothy L. Sayers. In Sea Girt, I read all the Earl Stanley Gardners that were stored on the guestroom bookshelf, always looking for the part about the naked woman on the cover, always disappointed. But I loved the stories anyway.

Those rainy days made me the mystery writer I am today.

When my children were young, my parents revived the tradition of the beach vacation. They rented a house in Stone Harbor, New Jersey and all of our activities continued–the beach trips, the mini-golf, the Jersey corn and tomatoes. And the reading.

This is one of my favorite photos from the beach. Three generations all with their noses buried in books, except my nephew Hume who is looking at the camera. I think there’s a book hidden in his towel.


Continue reading “My Beach Reads by Barbara Ross”

Posted in Cooking, Home

Daily Catch Monkfish Marsala by Barbara Ross

The snow is deep in Maine’s Busman’s Harbor and the mighty rivers are covered in ice. Snowden Family Clambake Company proprietor Julia Snowden and her mother, Jacqueline, are hunkered down for the winter when a mysterious package arrives—heating up February with an unexpected case of murder . . .

Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia’s great-grandmother and disappeared in the 1920s. Who could have sent it—and why? Julia’s search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother’s troubled family history, from a squabble over the family fortune in “frozen water” to the recent unexplained death of Jacqueline’s long-lost cousin Hugh—who’d been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother’s inheritance, Julia must fend off a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh’s demise, and get back home before the next blizzard buries them all . . .

Daily Catch Monkfish Marsala

Once I knew I would set a scene in the story at the Daily Catch, I couldn’t resist including my favorite

dish there, Monkfish Marsala, which is also a signature dish.


1 pound monkfish filets, trimmed and cut into thin medallions
½ Tablespoon olive oil
½ Tablespoon canola oil
1 cup flour
½ pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Marsala wine
1 lemon, juiced
1 Tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
½ Tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped Continue reading “Daily Catch Monkfish Marsala by Barbara Ross”

Posted in Cooking, Home

Missy’s Eggnog Punch by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross

With the fireplace crackling, the tree twinkling, and the carols humming, few things in life are as picture perfect as Christmas in Maine—until murder dampens the holiday spirit. It must be something in the eggnog . . .

Eggnog Murder
When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog—allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club—proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker’s Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who’s stirring up trouble.

Death By Eggnog
Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor’s grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal—and suspicious—allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it’s up to Hayley to ladle out some justice. Continue reading “Missy’s Eggnog Punch by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross”

Posted in Cooking

A Real Maine Clambake by Barbara Ross

People often ask about the inspiration for novels and for me it was when fellow Kensington author Lea Wait (Twisted Threads, Threads of Evidence, Thread and Gone) told me her daughter celebrated her wedding reception on a private island where a family ran a Maine clambake. Lea and I are neighbors in Maine (where neighbors means she lives at the other end of the peninsula where I live) and we love to get together to talk books, writing and lobster. Continue reading “A Real Maine Clambake by Barbara Ross”

Posted in Cooking

Split Pea Soup with Ham by Barbara Ross


1 meaty ham bone
12 cups water
1 small onion, chopped roughly
2 carrots, chopped roughly
2 stalks celery, chopped roughly
1 clove garlic, minced
2 14oz. package of yellow or green split peas
Optional: 2 additional carrots, diced

Remove as much visible fat and tough skin from the ham bone as possible. Carve off and dice larger pieces of meat clinging to the bone. Set aside. Continue reading “Split Pea Soup with Ham by Barbara Ross”

Posted in Cooking

Lobster & Corn Chowder by Barbara Ross

This hearty soup is derived from one of my treasured family recipes. It was originally Corn and Turkey Chowder, a Depression-era meal popular in our house after Thanksgiving. Bill Carito adapted it for lobster and brought it into the current millennium.


4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons flour
6 cups lobster or fish stock, warmed
1 can creamed corn Continue reading “Lobster & Corn Chowder by Barbara Ross”

Posted in Cooking

Chris’ Shrimp & Lobster Polenta with Barbara Ross

The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble simmering for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwing—the “Mussel King” of upscale seafood restaurants—is sniffing around town for a new location. Continue reading “Chris’ Shrimp & Lobster Polenta with Barbara Ross”