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The Drowning Sea: A Maggie D'arcy Mystery


The Drowning Sea: A Maggie D'arcy Mystery

In THE DROWNING SEA, Sarah Stewart Taylor’s third Maggie D’Arcy mystery, the former Suffolk County homicide detective from Long Island is on a summer vacation among the beautiful but dangerous cliffs of Ross Head in West Cork, Ireland. She is there with her teenage daughter, Lilly, and is sharing a cottage with her boyfriend, Conor, and his son, Adrien. Maggie seeks a fresh start after a rough finish to her time on the force, and she needs to sell her daughter on the idea of a permanent move to Ireland. This will be tough as Lilly is still going through a lot following the death of her father just over a year ago.

"THE DROWNING SEA is a perfect mystery novel. Not only are we presented with numerous suspects, the motive for any potential murder may lie in the village’s deep history."

Maggie is adjusting to Ross Head quickly, which is marked not only by its scenic cliffs and pounding sea but also by Rosscliffe Manor, a huge, abandoned castle-like structure that must have some serious history behind it. She has befriended Lissa Crawford, who runs a bakery shop and happens to be their landlady for the summer. One day, while she is chatting with her, DS Ann Tobin of the Garda Síochána stops by and informs Lissa that a Belgian tourist found the remains of a body on the beach that morning. The corpse is that of Lukas Adamik, a Polish construction worker who had gone missing.

Conor takes his family to a gastropub where they run into one of his academic colleagues, Grace, who invites them to join her. Dining at her large table are a number of locals who will play big roles in the story. Sam Nevin, Lukas’ former employer, is the main developer of Ross Head’s revitalization and is looking to turn Rosscliffe Manor into a fully functional hotel. Grace’s husband, Lorcan Murphy, is also a big cog in the wheel of this development machine from a financial standpoint. The D’arcys end their evening in the village with a visit to the tavern where a local band is playing. Alex, the lead singer, takes a shine to Lilly, and it’s not long before they become an item. It turns out that Alex is from Poland and was a friend of Lukas.

Maggie does some digging and finds out from her contact at the Garda that Ross Head has been under investigation for drug trafficking for a number of years. Could this have played a role in Lukas’ tragic fate or perhaps be tied to the Polish workers in the village? Needless to say, Lilly’s new relationship with Alex does not leave Maggie with a warm and fuzzy feeling based on all the information she has gathered. It’s not long before a second body turns up on the beach. This time it’s Zuzanna, a waitress at the gastropub who dated Lukas and may have been silenced for whatever she might have known about his death. Meanwhile, others in the village are trying to claim that she took her own life out of grief.

Now, both the Garda and drug enforcement officers have descended upon Ross Head, bringing to a halt all the construction and putting each resident under suspicion for what could be a string of possible homicides.

THE DROWNING SEA is a perfect mystery novel. Not only are we presented with numerous suspects, the motive for any potential murder may lie in the village’s deep history. Ireland is a beautiful and mysterious place, and Ross Head is no exception. Sarah Stewart Taylor deftly handles all of this and more without letting the narrative become overstuffed. The finale is quite suspenseful with more than a few surprises, and I look forward to seeing how the series progresses.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on June 24, 2022

The Drowning Sea: A Maggie D'arcy Mystery
by Sarah Stewart Taylor

  • Publication Date: June 20, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250826675
  • ISBN-13: 9781250826671