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Sam Clark’s new mystery novel The Inland Sea (Rootstock, 2020) is set in a sequestered part of Lake Champlain known as the Inland Sea. It’s about people and families who have spent their lives there.
A successful young minister, Paul Brearley, part owner of Osprey Island, has spent all of his summers there, seemingly a handsome, athletic, happy person with a beautiful wife and son. In 1990 he disappears and is presumed drowned, though some have their doubts.
In 2008, Brearley’s body, not yet identified, is found in a campground on nearby Burton Island, shot dead, propped up against the wall of a lean-to, as if resting from a long walk. Who shot him? What has he been doing for 18 years?
Enter Fred Davis, the detective in charge. He grew-up on a South Hero farm and knows the lake as well as anyone. As the investigation develops, Davis becomes fascinated with the little community on Osprey Island. He thinks the killing might be tied to Paul Brearley’s disappearance.
Slowly he learns that story goes back to a day in 1972 when the detective and a friend were sailing a little homemade boat just outside the Inland Sea. A boy named Skip Tyler – driving his speedboat too fast – crashed into them, nearly sinking the little sailboat. Skip blithely drives off, unconcerned. But this crash sets in motion seemingly small events, which lead to Paul Bearley’s murder 36 years later.
Sam Clark is a builder, designer, and cabinetmaker based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Plainfield, Vermont. He has written several books on design and building, including The Motion-Minded Kitchen, and The Independent Builder. This is his first mystery. You can learn more about Clark at his website, samclarkdesign.com.
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