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Book Notes - September 2008

We swam in close and came upon the body of a young woman resting on the seabed. Her eyes and mouth seemed shocked wide open. In the murky water, her skin shimmered a ghastly dark green color.”

— “Precious Cargo,” Clyde Ford

Rekindled romance and a shocking death

For those looking for an intriguing read while at anchor, be sure to stow Clyde Ford’s “Precious Cargo” ($24.95, Vanguard Press, 2008) on board.

In the vein of the mystery genre, the story follows Charlie Noble, a private investigator and seasoned boater who lives aboard a trawler in the Pacific Northwest. Recovering from the untimely death of his wife, Noble hopes to rekindle romance with his new love, Kate Sullivan. However, his love life is abruptly put on hold when friends discover a young woman impaled on the fluke of their boat anchor. The shocking death soon spirals into a string of bodies found all along Puget Sound, leading Noble into the dangerous waters of the Northwest’s sex trade.

Ford’s previous books have varied from fiction to nonfiction. His most recent is “Boat Green,” a manual for boaters on how to reduce their impact on the natural world, which Soundings featured in the May 2008 issue. He works aboard his 30-foot trawler and anchors in Puget Sound. For information, visit .

Admiration for a great builder of ships

Gardiner G. Deering is one of the most well-known boatbuilders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, designing no less than 99 schooners. “Patriarch of Maine Shipbuilding: The Life and Ships of Gardiner G. Deering” ($60, Tilbury House Publishers, 2008) by Kenneth R. Martin follows this legend from his childhood fascination with boats garnered from his father to his ascent as one of the most prolific designers in history. Many of Deering’s schooners were influential in the trading industry as the nation modernized and urbanized. The story is told through lush full-color paintings and photographs, bound in a large, hardcover navy-blue binding.

Martin was previously a history professor and museum director, but now writes full time. He lives on the KennebecRiver in Maine, two miles north of Deering’s old shipyard sites. The book was published by Jackson A. Parker, a great-great-grandson of Gardiner G. Deering. For information, visit .

A calendar full of nautical facts, fun

Stumped on a gift for the boater in your life? Consider “The Mariner’s Book of Days 2009” ($14.95, Sheridan House Inc., 2008) by Peter H. Spectre.

Celebrating its 18th year of publication, this day planner doubles as an ever-growing encyclopedia of nautical fact, fiction and folklore. Each edition is different from the last, rendering each a valuable keepsake long after the year is over. Spiral bound, every right-hand page is a week of days with the nautical significance of each discussed by the author. The left-hand page is a grab bag of information, ranging from lyrics to sea shanties to what sailors would have eaten aboard a 1920s schooner.

Spectre has been editor of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine since 1999 and was previously editor of WoodenBoat magazine. He lives and writes in Spruce Head, Maine. For information, contact Jeannine Simon at .