The Swallowtail Legacy 1: Wreck at Ada's Reef

Punctuated with transcripts, letters, maps, black-and-white illustrations and more, The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada's Reef is a vibrant contemporary mystery with a classic feel exploring righting past wrongs, redefining family, and finding yourself.

Twelve-year-old Lark Heron-Finch is steeling herself to spend the summer on Swallowtail Island off the shores of Lake Erie. It's the first time that she and her sister will have seen the old house since their mom passed away. And while her stepfather and his boys are okay, the island's always been full of happy memories--and now everything is different.

When Nadine, a close family friend, tells Lark about a tragic boat accident that happened off the coast many years before, Lark's enthralled with the story. Nadine's working on a book about Dinah Purdy, Swallowtails's oldest resident who had a connection to the crash, and she's sure that the accident was not as it appeared. Impressed by Lark's keen eye, she hires her as her research assistant for the summer.

And then Lark discovers something amazing. Something that could change Dinah's life. Something linked to the crash and even to her own family's history with Swallowtail. But there are others on the island who would do anything to keep the truth buried in the watery depths of the past.

A compelling and complex mystery with a classic feel, Wreck at Ada's Reef is perfect for fans of The Parker Inheritance, Holes, The Westing Game, and anyone looking for a satisfying puzzle that stretches across decades.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published on February 1, 2022 by Pixel+Ink
ISBN-10: 1645950484
ISBN-13: 9781645950486
4 Book Reviews
  • callie_b
    callie_babout 1 year55 starsFeatured
    Lark's summer trip to Swallowtail Island is nothing like how she envisioned it to be after she returns to her mother's childhood home after her passing, a place of memories and mystery. Lark is immediately drawn to the story of a boating accident that had occurred about 70 years prior and joins forces with Nadine, her mother's hometown friend, to try to solve the case that had stumped the island for decades. It just didn't make sense that Nadine's grandfather, Albert Pritchard, would have crashed into the rocky expanse of Ada's Reef, marked by a flashing buoy, considering he knew the waters like the back of his hand. Nadine is convinced that his death could be related to the death of Captain Cheever, who was a powerful man on the island who could have had sinister motives dealing with the land and wealth left behind. Lark's fresh perspective on the case might be just what Nadine needs to finally solve the mystery-- although people in the town may feel otherwise as the investigation pulls other lost truths of the island to the surface. Will Lark and Nadine uncover the solution to this Swallowtail Island mystery? And what is the significance of the small blue swallow figurine that Lark finds that she soon realizes may have been intentionally hidden? Readers will be drawn into the pages of this book by the captivating characters and story that author Michael D. Beil creates. I really enjoyed this book and loved Lark's honest opinions and GHT's (God's Honest Truths) that made this book an engaging read and left me wanting more of Swallowtail Island! I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an enthralling read, and especially to lovers of birds and age-old mysteries, and for ages 12+!
    • unicornbrain
      unicornbrainabout 1 year55 starsFeatured
      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.
      • kruzingwithk9s
        kruzingwithk9sabout 1 year55 starsFeatured
        Have you ever read or heard something and said to yourself, “Something isn’t right here. There’s more to the story.” That’s how Lark felt after reading a newspaper article on Swallowtail Island, where she and her sister, Pip, have a summer house that their mom left them after she died. Going to the island with Thomas, her stepdad (who loves family photos just a little too much), and her stepbrothers, she finds a newspaper article telling of a 75 year old tale of an accidental death. She is later hired to investigate the incident for a book as a favor for a friend of her late mother. Digging deeper, there is more to the story than meets the eye. Can Lark find the missing piece of the story before it affects a new friend of hers? This thrilling mystery will leave you on the edge of your seat! I would recommend this to someone 12-15.
        • cici_of_the_sky
          cici_of_the_skyabout 1 year55 stars
          An enchanting book! When Nadine, a close family friend, tells Lark about a tragic boat accident that happened off the coast many years before, Lark's enthralled with the story, and so am I! When Lark discovered something amazing that could change Dinah's life, I was excited to know what it was. I highly recommend ages 8-12 to try this book out!