In my Young Adult novel, “Spanish Phantom,” fourteen year-old Jenny McDonald from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands loves mysteries but never thought she’d be close enough to touch one. Everything begins normally enough when Jenny and her parents visit the Santos family in Sanlúcar, Spain, nestled where the wide Guadalquivir River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Jenny and the Santos’ daughter, Teresa, become instant friends and look forward to riding horses through the swampy forest of El Coto to the ancient town of El Rocío at the spring festival.
Jenny becomes intrigued by stories of a phantom who spooks local fishermen venturing too close to an old shipwreck in the Guadilquivir River. Another new friend, Eduardo, seems to know a lot about the mystery, but won’t talk.
Then there’s easy-going Vincente who lives in El Coto. Jenny is sure she can figure out the mystery. All she needs is enough time and a little help from her new friends. But she soon realizes that one friend is part of the mystery, and not really a friend at all.