Debbie De Louise is a reference librarian at a public library. Her novels include four books in her Cobble Cove mystery series, a romantic comedy novella, a paranormal romance, and two standalone mysteries. Learn more about Debbie and her books at her website/blog.
Shedding Light on a 20-year-old Mystery
When I first came up with the idea of writing a novel about a murder at a lighthouse, I knew I would need to do some research about lighthouses. As I wrote the book, I discovered a unique way to add in this research that readers will understand once they finish the story. I included numerous facts about lighthouses and maritime lore and asked my publisher to feature photos and drawings to illustrate each point.
Take this short quiz to see how much you know about lighthouses. Answers are included below. No peeking or Googling allowed. These are only a few of the facts featured in Sea Scope.
1. What was the first lighthouse built in the United States?
2. What is the term for the study of lighthouses?
3. What date do we celebrate Lighthouse Day?
4. Which lighthouse was the first built in New York State and was visited by a slave ship and a pirate?
5. Which lighthouse was manned by a female lighthouse keeper?
1. The first lighthouse built in America was Boston Lighthouse in 1716 on Little Brewster Island. It was destroyed during the American Revolutionary War and rebuilt in 1783.
2. The study of lighthouses is known as “Pharology,” named after the famed lighthouse of Alexandria. Pharos of Alexandria, the first known lighthouse, was built in Egypt between 300 and 250 BC and stood 450 feet high.
3. For the bicentennial of the United States Lighthouse Service in 1989, the U. S. Lighthouse Society petitioned Congress to declare National Lighthouse Day on August 7—the date in 1789 that the Ninth Act of the First Congress, establishing federal control of lighthouses, was passed and signed by President George Washington. The measure was signed by President Ronald Reagan as Public Law on November 5, 1988 but only for that day in 1989. A similar declaration was won in 2013, but efforts to add the day to the official national calendar have not succeeded.
4. The Montauk Point Lighthouse on Long Island was the first built in New York State and was visited by both the slave ship “Amistad” and a pirate.
5. Robbins Reef, also known as Kate’s Light, is named after the wife of a keeper who, after his death, tended the light from 1886 to 1919 and daily rowed her children to school in Staten Island.
Sarah Collins needs an escape. Mourning her brother’s death and the impending breakup of her marriage, she returns to her childhood home in South Carolina, where her family operated an inn.
Sarah hasn’t been back to Sea Scope for twenty years; not since she and her brother Glen discovered a body by the nearby lighthouse. She never understood why her parents left Sea Scope so suddenly, or the reasons behind her father's suicide.
After Sarah returns to the inn, she faces long-buried memories, text messages and strange clues. Something is not right in Sea Scope. Reunited with people from her past, she tries to figure out what's going on in her childhood home.
When past and present collide, Sarah must face truths about her family, and what happened that summer day by the lighthouse. But will she survive to tell the tale?