Miss Pickerell Harvests the Sea: 02/28/18
Miss Pickerell Harvests the Sea by Ellen MacGregor and Dora Pantell is the seventh in the Miss Pickerell books. Ellen MacGregor died in 1954, so only the first four were written by her.
Miss Pickerell is an elderly woman of enough means to travel the country while indulging her interest in science. As she also seems to have a large extended family without having children of her own, she's a prototype for Jessica Fletcher.
As the books are about science, there's always a bit of what in today's lingo would be called an "E/I" component, namely, something educational. Pantell's books tend to be heavier on the facts, and Miss Pickerell herself comes across as less eccentric and better educated.
In the case of Harvests the Sea the book starts out simply enough with Miss Pickerell going to see a seaweed farm that her nephew told her about. When she arrives the farmer is distraught because his kelp, seaweed, and plankton are all dying off.
Nearby the farm there is an off shore research center where oceanographers and marine biologists are running all sorts of experiments. They confirm Miss Pickerell's ideas on what should make the farm thrive.
When things get worse based on their collective suggestions, the book goes on an unexpected tangent. Harvests the Sea was written two years before the creation of the EPA, and one of the organization's first tasks was the regulation of water contamination. A contemporaneous song is Pete Seeger's "Old Father Hudson / Sailing Down that Dirty Stream." which helps set the stage of what Miss Pickerell is faced with here.