Thursday, July 7, 2022

Review: The Drowning Sea by Sarah Stewart Taylor

The Drowning Sea (Maggie D'arcy #3) by Sarah Steward Taylor
Publication Date: June 21st 2022 by Minotaur Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher & Purchased Audiobook
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
I’ve been a fan of the Maggie D’arcy series from the start and was eager to dive into the newest installment. For me, Maggie’s personal life is just as interesting as the mystery at the center of each new installment. Maggie has reunited with a man she met while trying to find her missing cousin in Ireland 23 years ago. They had a passionate few weeks together, but ended up parting ways for reasons that you’d have to read the book to understand.  That mystery was solved in book one, with Maggie assisting the Irish Garda, establishing the relationship between Maggie and Conor, and set up the rest of the stories to come.

After the events from the last book Maggie is no longer working as a homicide detective in Long Island which leaves her and her teenage daughter, Lilly, free to spend the Summer in Ireland with Conor and his son. Maggie’s planning to move to Ireland and needs a way to break the news to Lilly. Maggie will have to start at the bottom of the police force in Ireland and the training is a bit of an issue for her and Conor. Spending the Summer in the beautiful coast of West Cork is just the respite they all need to recharge. However, Maggie always finds herself a few mysteries to solve.

A young Polish worker goes missing and the rumor is he either committed suicide or fell off the treacherous cliffs into the sea. His girlfriend insists neither can be true. Also, Mrs. Crawford, owner of the idyllic cottage they’re staying at, has some childhood memories returning and she’s sure she remembers a blood-soaked rag hidden and a governess that went missing around the same time. Mrs. Crawford asks Maggie to look into it for her. These mysteries don’t seem like much danger at first, but the ending had me holding my breath for a second or two worried about how it’d all turn out!

Sarah Stewart Taylor has a way of writing that brought Ross Head to life, with its stunning seaside cliffs and views! I’d love to stay in the cozy cottage described, minus the trouble Maggie encounters, of course. Although, maybe that might be a little fun, as long as it wasn’t too dangerous.

The Maggie D’arcy series is best started from the beginning as the relationships and history are important to each story. I highly recommend the series for any who enjoy police procedurals with excellent characterization and beautiful, atmospheric writing.

For audiobook lovers, the audios are fantastic! I alternately read and listened to all the books, and I was a little concerned because the narrator changed in this installment. However, Aoife McMahon was excellent with all accents. Maggie’s is a strange sort of Long Island/Irish mix and she nailed it, as the did the past narrator. The Irish accents were good, too, subtle, and genuine feeling, to me anyhow.

4 Stars

Book Description:

In The Drowning Sea, Sarah Stewart Taylor returns to the critically acclaimed world of Maggie D’arcy with another atmospheric mystery so vivid readers will smell the salt in the air and hear the wind on the cliffs.

For the first time in her adult life, former Long Island homicide detective Maggie D’arcy is unemployed. No cases to focus on, no leads to investigate, just a whole summer on a remote West Cork peninsula with her teenage daughter Lilly and her boyfriend, Conor and his son. The plan is to prepare Lilly for a move to Ireland. But their calm vacation takes a dangerous turn when human remains wash up below the steep cliffs of Ross Head.

When construction worker Lukas Adamik disappeared months ago, everyone assumed he had gone home to Poland. Now that his body has been found, the guards, including Maggie's friends Roly Byrne and Katya Grzeskiewicz, seem to think he threw himself from the cliffs. But as Maggie gets to know the residents of the nearby village and learns about the history of the peninsula and its abandoned Anglo Irish manor house, once home to a famous Irish painter who died under mysterious circumstances, she starts to think there's something else going on. Something deadly. And when Lilly starts dating one of the dead man's friends, Maggie grows worried about her daughter being so close to another investigation and about what the investigation will uncover.

Old secrets, hidden relationships, crime, and village politics are woven throughout this small seaside community, and as the summer progresses, Maggie is pulled deeper into the web of lies, further from those she loves, and closer to the truth.


  1. What a lovely review you have of this one. I just love it when characters are brought to life through the sheer talent of the author. Glad that this one was a solid read for you.

  2. Wonderful review! I really enjoy this series too. I've enjoyed this narrator on other series and enjoyed her work here.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    1. Thanks, Anne! She was really good, right? I'm looking forward to the next one.

  3. I've been hearing lots of good things about this series; I really need to give it a try. :)

  4. I like the way you describe the structure of this series. Separate mysteries, but ongoing threads too

  5. Nice review, Rachel. I like it when the characters are as interesting as the mystery!

    1. Me too! I'm more invested in continuing the series that way.

  6. I recently heard about the series for the first time and your review cements my desire to read it. I like the sound of Maggie and the mystery

  7. Wonderful review Rachel. I love when a back story or personal life are just as much part of the story as the mystery. I also love audiobooks, so will see if my library has this series.

  8. Great review. Regine

  9. I love when audiobook readers do great accents. It really makes the book feel even more alive.