ALH Anna Lee Huber

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Penny For Your Secrets - Behind-the-Scenes - The Zebrina
September 26, 2019

In anticipation of the release of PENNY FOR YOUR SECRETS, Verity Kent Book 3, I’ll be sharing a number of behind-the-scenes types of posts, sharing the history and inspiration behind the book. Today I kick them off with a doozy.

The disappearance of the crew of the Zebrina is one of the great unsolved mysteries of the First World War. The ship was a flat-bottomed schooner used to haul coal from southwest England across the dangerous waters of the English Channel, where were patrolled by German U-boats, to the shores of France. In the autumn of 1917, she was found beached at a place called Rozel Point two days after she was supposed to have reached the port of Saint-Brieuc. The Zebrina was undamaged except for some tangled sails. Nothing seemed amiss, except for the fact her crew was missing. The most common explanation has been that they must have been taken captive by the crew of U-boat. Except there is no evidence of a struggle—the table was even set for dinner—and the captain’s logbook was not taken, as was the customary practice. So what happened to the crew? (A mystery too delicious not to concoct a fictional explanation for in PENNY FOR YOUR SECRETS.) The Zebrina was towed back to England and ended her days at Velder Creek (an inlet of Langstone Harbour) in Portsmouth. 

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