Sunday, January 14, 2018

Please Welcome Guest Shari Randall

Our guest today is Shari Randall, author of Curses, Boiled Again!  And she's talking lobster or "lobstah" (if you're from New England.)  Her tales had me drooling.  Oh, for a lobster roll right now! Alas lobsters are a little thin on the ground in Michigan! 

On the Lobster Roll Trail

By Shari Randall

I confess: I’m a fraud. For two reasons. 

Here I am on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and trust me, I’m not a cook. I have more take out places on speed dial than I have cook books. When Peg Cochran asked me to visit, I jumped at the chance. In the same way I enjoy watching the mastery of cooks on Iron Chef, I enjoy the recipes cooked up by these talented authors.

Writing About Lobsters

I had to be reassured when my publisher asked me to write a mystery series set in a lobster shack. No recipes required. I’ve never even cooked a lobster! But my publisher wanted New England charm, a different kind of detective, and a suspenseful mystery. That I could do. But how could a non-cook get the lobster shack setting right?

Thank goodness I live in southeastern Connecticut, home to two lobster shacks that make “best of” lists every year. And being a former librarian, I did what any writer in my flip flops would do: research.

So, one morning last summer my husband and I set off on our lobster roll eating extravaganza, er, research tour.


Research is the delight of procrastinating authors. I couldn’t have come up with a better way to avoid actual writing. We rolled north from Connecticut along roads as scenic as they come, dipping into quaint towns along the shore, checking out cedar shingled shacks covered with sun-faded lobster buoys and circled by hungry diners and thieving sea gulls. Did I learn anything beyond how nice it is to sit on a dock with a cold beverage and a hot lobster roll as the sun sets? You bet.

One of the biggest things I learned: Who knew there was an ongoing debate about the best way to make a lobster roll? Depending on where they grew up or where they had that first lobster roll, people fall into two camps: those who prefer the Maine style lobster roll and those who prefer Connecticut style.

Lobster Rolls--Connecticut style vs Maine Style 


They’re both delicious, right? They’re not that different, right? Perish the thought! Maine style adds a mayonnaise base to (perhaps appropriately) cold lobster meat, making a lobster salad, and usually adds a bit of greenery – shredded lettuce – as a starting point. From there chefs riff on many variations of salad, adding onion, celery, herbs, and spices to diners’ delight.
Connecticut style is hot lobster meat piled on a buttered and toasted hot dog bun, with melted butter accompaniment. Delectable fresh lobster meat, warm buttered roll, more butter…. You can see why many prefer this preparation. Unadorned, classic, elegant in its simplicity. In my book, CURSES, BOILED AGAIN, the lobster rolls are Connecticut style all the way, befitting a lobster shack in mythical Mystic Bay, Connecticut.

But of course, it’s all personal preference. As we traveled along the New England shore, taking in the lighthouse views and stopping for beach breaks, it was easy to appreciate the merits of both kinds of lobster roll. We swung back home to our two favorite shacks, Abbott’s and Ford’s in little Noank, CT, where we sat on the dock and watched the sailboats slide by, not a care in the world. Ah! Vacation and lobster roll nirvana.

Oh, the second reason I’m a fake? Well, as our lobster tour progressed, I had to face a tragic, hilarious, and inconvenient truth.

I’m allergic to lobster.

Welcome to the seaside hamlet of Mystic Bay, where the fish is always fresh, the folks are ever-friendly, and murder is on a roll….
Allie Larkin was living her dream as a ballet dancer when a bad fall put her out of business. Now she’s back home in Mystic Bay to heal a broken ankle while also helping her Aunt Gully get her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack off the ground. Nothing would help Gully more than winning the local food festival’s Best Lobster Roll contest. The competition is sure to be killer- especially after one of the contest judges dies after eating a roll from one of Gully’s biggest rivals.
Soon, all eyes fall on Gully as the prime suspect. Allie may only have one good leg to stand on, but she’s not going to let her aunt go down for a crime she never could have cooked up. Can Allie, along with her devoted crew of friends, family, and customers, find a way to trap the killer and claw herself out of this hard-boiled murder case.

Suspenseful and entertaining – left me longing to visit the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack!” – Donna Andrews

Delightful! A fun whodunit full of New England coastal charm and characters who feel like friends. Warm humor, a delectable plot, and clever sleuthing will keep you turning the pages." —Krista Davis

Shari Randall is the author of CURSES, BOILED AGAIN!, the first in the Lobster Shack mystery series. She’s a former librarian, military spouse, mother of two globe-trotting kids, and the Sisters in Crime Library Liaison. You can see what she’s up to on her Facebook page


Want to win a free copy of CURSES, BOILED AGAIN? Enter this Goodreads giveaway, through January 30.


  1. Looking forward to reading this book! Thanks for sharing! Dspinlexo at Aol dot com

    1. Hi Dee, thank you for your kind words. I love this blog and am so happy to be here!

  2. I am looking forward to this new series!

    1. Thank you, Chris! I hope you'll enjoy it!

  3. One of the first times I drove to MA from my then-home in PA, I turned onto the Mass Pike, and the first highway rest-stop/food place I passed was advertising lobster rolls. I knew I was in New England! Too bad about your allergy! I'll look forward to the book.

    1. Lobster rolls are a sure sign! Though there are some new chains that are bringing lobster rolls beyond New England. I'm sure they're good, but to me lobster rolls = New England.

  4. I’ve only had the Maine style lobster roll even though I’ve been to CT a number of times. Somehow we never had dinner anyplace that was serving them there.

    1. Hi Sandy, You'll love the CT style. Have you been to the Mystic area? Lots of good places nearby.

  5. I'm not sure I've ever even had a lobster roll or not a 'real' one. So sorry about your allergic reaction, but I guess it will keep you from 'overdoing' in the name of research, right? Both types sound wonderful, but I'm avoiding both butter and mayo. Could probably just eat the lobster though and love it - like crab. I'll be watching for the book. Looks fun!

    1. Hi Kay, no overdoing for me, sadly! I have a friend who's a dietician, and she says that lobster is actually a healthy, low fat protein, so as long as we don't drench it in too much butter, it's good for us.