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Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
6th in Series
Setting – Maine
Kensington (December 26, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback 280 Pages
E-Book ASIN: B06XZSXYQ6
It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .
When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .
Guest Post from the Author
Learning about Life Aboard a Yacht
When I started writing Stowed Away, the sixth Maine Clambake Mystery, I knew the story centered on a yacht. And not just any yacht, a mega-yacht. I live in a Victorian house with a big front porch overlooking our Maine harbor, so I’ve frequently seen large yachts, particularly in August. There’s even a website where you can look them up by their names or registration numbers, follow their travels and get details like whether they’re for charter or used exclusively by their owners.
But what is life like aboard a mega-yacht? How many crew would such a big boat require and what are their jobs? Who reports to whom? I had no access to this information. Fortunately, two books came to my rescue.
The first was Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France’s Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella by David Shalleck with Erol Munuz. Told by a master chef aboard a sailing yacht belonging to a wealthy Italian couple, it gave me a good picture of shipboard life, the joys of finding local produce, fish, and other foods throughout the Mediterranean and the challenges of cooking and storing food in a tiny space—especially when the ship is moving. It also gave me a good sense of the relationships and camaraderie among the crew.
But since my fictional yacht was a motor yacht, the best resource by far was The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess: Confessions from My Years Afloat with the Rich and Famous by Julie Perry. The book is exactly as it describes itself, hints and tips for getting a job working on a luxury yacht and for being successful once you get one.
Not only did this book give all the facts, it also gave a lot of color. While being a steward or stewardess on a large cruise ship is a lot like being a maid in a hotel, the author describes the steward role on a mega-yacht as much more interesting. While yes, there’s making beds and emptying trash cans, there’s also personal shopping, picking up packages at some of the most expensive and beautiful stores in the world, and helping out a parties for the yacht owner’s fabulous guests. Charters produce more tips, as the crew are tipped heavily every time the passengers turn over, but working for an owner may provide more upward mobility.
Everyone who works on a yacht must be trained and certified, both for boat safety and for their particular job. Agencies in exotic ports around the world specialize in finding crews.
I have to say Julie Perry did succeed in making being a yacht stewardess sound glamorous. She also helped me create my fictional crew for the fictional Garbo, and for that I’m really grateful.
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at MaineClambakeMysteries.com.
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