Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am happy to welcome Terry Ambrose back to Escapes With Dollycas!
The Trouble with Treasure
When I first began writing the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery series, I felt I needed “a hook.” Problem was, I had no idea what that should be. When my wife made a comment about people loving a good treasure story, I decided to take on the writer’s favorite pastime—research. What I uncovered opened my eyes to a fascinating world I’d forgotten after history class let out.
The game begins
I have to admit, when I started, the stories of the Spanish treasure fleet captured my interest. Those ships sailed for months to bring enormous wealth from the New World back to Spain, but other countries saw these riches as an irresistible target. Why not? The Spanish had done the hard work—they’d conquered the Incan empire, mined the gold, and sailed thousands of miles to return home. The French, British, and Dutch were eager to reap the benefits of those efforts.
With easy money as the lure, the age of privateers began. In 1537, French privateers captured nine treasure ships, prompting Spain to send protection in the form of royal warships. This first treasure fleet became the standard for hundreds of years.
Swashbuckling pirates were just the beginning
Sixteenth Century treasure raiders relied on the strength and speed of their ships. Cannon, sword, and cunning ruled the sea. In 1708, the San Jose fell victim to this type of raid by a British warship. Those British privateers sank the San Jose, thus losing their bounty to the bottom of the sea where it lay for centuries.
When treasure hunters discovered the San Jose off the coast of Cartagena, its bounty was estimated at $17 billion. Treasure hunters, museums, and even governments salivated. Everyone wanted a piece of this pie. None wanted to give up their slice without a fight. This same spirit of lust—the desire to be the primary beneficiary of a 300-year-old bounty—was one element of the story behind Clues in the Sand.
Today, modern privateers no longer attack with cannon and sword. These treasure raiders are experienced divers who operate with highly specialized equipment. Professional divers conduct snatch-and-grab treasure raids and operate at depths that could kill a recreational scuba diver.
The lure of riches beyond belief
The voyage of the Manilla galleons took months to complete and was one of the most dangerous in the world. If privateers didn’t attack, violent storms could push a ship off course. If there were no storms, the winds might die and leave a ship to languish until its crew was too weak or too few to operate safely.
The Manilla galleons sailed for nearly 350 years. During that time Spain lost over forty ships at sea. The British and Dutch captured or destroyed many others. These were some of the richest cargos to sail the seas. Is it any wonder the promise of such instant wealth brought out the worst in everyone?
It was for all these reasons that when Kathy said, “You need a good hook,” I thought I’d found one. The lure of treasure hunting captured my interest. It wasn’t enough to risk everything on a gamble for instant celebrity, but it was enough for me to delve deeper and explore that world vicariously. I hope readers will enjoy the blending of snippets of treasure hunting with the small town atmosphere of Seaside Cove—where murder meets the sea.
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Thank you so much for visiting today, Terry! Kathy is right, people love a treasure story! Especially when there is a murder involved.
Clues in the Sand (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – California
Satori (March 15, 2018)
Print Length: 191 pages
To Rick Atwood’s dismay, the police find a body on the beach near his Seaside Cove B&B. The dead woman held a pottery shard from an ancient rice bowl, which the cops believe is a clue to her murder.
The chief suspect is Flynn O’Connor, a female archaeologist known for her hatred of treasure thieves. Trouble is, Rick’s daughter Alex sees Flynn as a role model and will not believe her friend is a killer.
Alex pressures her dad as only a ten-year-old can to prove Flynn is innocent. The mayor is also making demands—for Rick to stay out of the investigation. With his daughter and the mayor at odds, Rick sees trouble brewing. He knows too well how much Alex loves sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Especially when there’s murder involved.
Rick Atwood was hoping that murder was a rare occurrence in Seaside Cove, but another body has been found on the beach. Because of the pottery shard, she was holding in her hand and a witness archaeologist Flynn O’Connor is deemed the main suspect. His 10-year-old daughter Alex has become friends with Flynn and knows she didn’t do it. Rick tries to stay out of the police’s way but Alex takes some steps of her own that lands him right in the middle again.
I really fell for these characters in book 1, especially young Miss Alex. She is smart, generous, friendly, and knows how to get her way with both her dad and Marquetta. In addition to helping her dad around the B&B and organizing help to solve the murder, she is doing her darndest to bring Rick and Marquetta together. She is a girl on a mission or two, and I absolutely love it.
The author has written a very clever mystery. The mayor was very prickly this time and Rick knew she was up to something, but did it have anything to do with the murder? I really enjoyed the way Rick pursued his theories and wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. I also learned a key piece of information about the murder weapon and more about sunken treasures. I always like it when I learn something new while reading my mysteries. There were plenty of suspects and clues in the sand and elsewhere that kept me guessing until the very end.
Again, the cover calls to me, as did the descriptions of the B&B, especially the attic this time, and the town of Seaside Cove.
Mr. Ambrose has a fun, easy, writing style. It is very comfortable with ebbs and flows. A perfect mystery for a lazy afternoon. I enjoyed the setting, the mystery, and the characters. I am excited for the next book in this series!
About the Author
Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who only stole cars when it was legal. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. He’s currently working on the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery series.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”