La Merced: The Real Four-Masted Schooner in Anacortes, WA was part of the inspiration for the landlocked ship in Shed Girl: A Juliet French Mystery.

Photo by Cathy Ryan

My friend recently read a copy of my soon-to-be-released-novel, Shed Girl: A Juliet French Mystery. She loved it! Yay! (She is my friend, after all.) She then sent these photos of La Merced and asked if it was the ship in the story. The answer is yes!

Photo by Cathy Ryan

La Merced was the inspiration for the landlocked ship where runaway teens hide in Shed Girl: A Juliet French Mystery. However, the story’s version is not as populated with growth as the real schooner. The hull of this four-masted schooner is now overgrown with a small forest of trees.

Years ago, while in Anacortes, Washington, I saw this ship. I wondered what it would be like to go into a ship that had gone aground a hundred years before. And, in the many mysterious ways of the imagination, that ship made it into the first Juliet French novel.

Nature is now reclaiming the real four-masted La Merced, a wooden hulled schooner that had its hull scuttled on the shore of Fidalgo Island to serve as a breakwater at Lovric’s marina in Anacortes.

According to the article in The Old Salt Blog, La Merced is 232 feet long and 42.6 feet of beam. She was built in California during the first world war and initially used to carry petroleum products for Standard Oil. In 1920 she was converted to a small floating cannery in Alaska. In 1965, she was sold for scrap materials.

The wooden ship is one of four surviving four-masted schooners and was listed on the National Register for Historic places in 1990.

Although the hull of the real La Merced is now its own wild place, filled with trees and various other living things, in Shed Girl: A Juliet French Mystery, the main body of the ship is dank and musty with room to roam. You might find any one of a number of teens camping out in her fictional hull.

If you like mysteries you can preorder Shed Girl: A Juliet French Mystery here and here

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Shed Girl – A Juliet French Mystery

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