top of page

The Sea Island's Secret

A Delta & Jax Mystery

A fistful of bones and a mysterious treasure hunt--not quite what twelve-year-old Chicagoan Delta Wells is expecting when she arrives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to visit her grandparents for the summer! But when she learns that Pops' beloved Island History Museum will likely be replaced by a new golf resort, and then discovers a skeleton hidden in the marsh on the museum property, she knows that this summer will be like no other. A long-secret message from the past sends Delta and her younger brother, Jax, on a quest to unearth the island's secrets, save their grandfather's museum, and help complete a task begun on Hilton Head more than 150 years ago in the shadow of the Civil War.


ISBN 978-1-61117-974-3, Hardcover

ISBN 978-1-61117-975-0, Paperback


(Young Palmetto Books/The University of South Carolina Press 2019)

Book Drop Blitz.jpg

Release Day Category Best Seller


Amelia Island 2020.jpg

Authors in Schools Selection

Shop on-line or ask for it at your favorite bookseller!

Coastal Discovery Museum StoryBook Shoppe - Bluffton Coastal Provisions - Shelter Cove By Hand Inc. - SeaPines Pat Conroy Literary Center - Beaufort


Here's what people are saying about

The Sea Island's Secret:

"Buckle up for some lowcountry adventure: a spooky mystery seasoned with history dug straight out of the pluff mud and salt water shore of Hilton Head island! Tremendous fun." -- AJ Hartley, New York Times bestselling author of Steeplejack and Cathedrals of Glass

“In this debut novel for children, Susan Diamond Riley braids together an intriguing mystery, two determined young siblings, an appreciation of Civil War history, and a deep love of Hilton Head Island.  The result will appeal to mystery lovers, history buffs of all ages, and anyone who enjoys spending time on the beautiful South Carolina coast.” -- Mark I. West, Book Review Editor of The Children’s Literature Association Quarterly

“What do you get when you put together a couple of young sleuths, the remains of a skeleton, a cantankerous pirate, a Civil War secret, a possible ghost, and a head-scratching puzzle to solve? That’s what you’ll find in The Sea Island’s Secret, a fast-paced and rollicking mystery that will keep you turning pages till the very end and learning some history on the way!” -- Cassandra King, New York Times bestselling author of The Same Sweet Girls

“Susan Diamond Riley's debut novel offers history, mystery, and nonstop adventure...thoroughly entertaining while educating readers about the Civil War, Hilton Head Island, and interpersonal relationships. Middle grade readers with siblings will feel an instant connection to the love, and bickering, that Delta and Jax share as they unearth clues and fit together pieces of their Civil War enjoyable adventure for readers of almost any age.” -- RISE: A Children’s Literacy Journal

The Sea Island’s Secret: A Delta and Jax Mystery instantly absorbs the reader in a non-stop adventure that starts with the harrowing discovery of a skull buried in mud. Enter a mysterious stranger, to help the children find a buried treasure. The plot is expertly interwoven with Charleston/Lowcountry history, and favorite places for visitors and locals. The siblings wrangle occasionally, which makes the book even more realistic.  This book is a best bet for children’s historical fiction.”  -- Fran Hawk, author of The H.L. Hunley Submarine

“Young readers will enjoy this island adventure. Five stars!” -- Children’s Literature Review


bottom of page