One baffling boating accident, three self-serving stories. With the help of Lark Heron-Finch, will the truth behind the horrific boat accident that killed Albert Pritchard rise to the surface?
Michael D. Beil’s “The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada’s Reef” is written from a blunt, problem-solving, and scientific twelve-year-old girl’s sharp minded point of view. While on a somber summer vacation to her late mother’s childhood home on the island of Swallowtail, Lark is urged to assist Nadine, a native novelist and old friend of Lark’s mother, in uncovering the truth about the wreak at Ada’s Reef. At her stepfather’s – Thomas – proposal, she excitedly agrees to be Nadine’s assistant. Little did Lark know that she would be unraveling a “ghost net” that many locals wanted to remain at the bottom of the sea.
Lark’s job reviewing inquest reports exposes a mystery around the death of Pritchard and connects it to the death of his friend, Captain Edward Cheever. Captain Cheever’s final words: “Will. Safe. Two bells. Ada holds the key,” spear-heads Lark and Nadine into questioning the most prominent family on the island.
Will Lark’s tenacity help Nadine unearth the truth about two deaths, or two murders?
Beil’s “Swallowtail Island: Wreck at Ada’s Reef” was a straight-forward, yet enjoyable book. I found the characters relatable and the intriguing plotline kept me engaged. Juggling soccer camp, caring for her little sister, Pip, and her English Settler, Pogo, Lark seems to enjoy the distraction her new job as a mystery-solving assistant provides. I would recommend this book for children ages 13+, since the book touches on sensitive topics.