American Girl Publishing

Cover of Caroline Abbott Traitor in the Shipyard American Girl mystery book by Kathleen Ernst.


Agatha Award Nominee
Best Children's Mystery
— Malice Domestic

Ranked in Top 1%
US Print Book Sales
for Total of 530 Days
Nielsen BookScan


Caroline Abbott found it hard to keep from humming a cheerful tune, even though she was dusting. Don't disturb Papa while he is working, she reminded herself. Her father built ships, and she loved spending time with him in the shipyard office. But today, being here with him seemed especially precious.

Thus begins the seventh story and the first mystery in Kathleen's award-winning, bestselling Caroline series. It is her fifteenth story for American Girl, and one of her most popular books.

This story is written for readers age 9 and up who enjoy historical fiction without sex, gore, or explicit violence.

Story Description

When Caroline learns that British spies may be lurking in Sackets Harbor, she is worried. Then, a long lost friend of Papa's shows up. Papa is delighted to give him a job at Abbott's Shipyard, but soon, strange things start going wrong.

Caroline is sure a spy is making trouble at the yard--but is it one of Abbott's trusted workers, whom she has known all her life, or could it be Papa's dear friend?

A richly illustrated "Looking Back" section discusses the role of spies in the War of 1812. This 192-page story was published in softcover and hardcover—both now out-of-print. It is still available in ebook formats.

What Others Are Saying

Image of Barnes & Noble logo.  Prize Selection
2013 Summer Reading Program

Traitor In The Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery was chosen by Barnes & Noble as a prize for readers who completed their summer reading program.

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction for adults and young readers.

Her work has earned numerous honors, including two lifetime writing achievement awards, an Emmy for educational television, and an Edgar Allan Poe and multiple Agatha Christie mystery award nominations.

To date nearly 1.8 million audio, ebook, and print copies of Kathleen's thirty-eight published books have been purchased. more>> 

Related Blog Posts

Enjoy the author's insights about the story, characters, and settings.

Caroline's Quilt - Part 1

Link to "Caroline's Quilt - Part 1" blog post, posted 16 March 2015 on the Sites and Stories blog of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. In my first Caroline mystery, Traitor in the Shipyard, Caroline and her friend Rhonda decide to make a quilt as a gift for Lydia, Caroline’s cousin. Their first task was to choose a design for their quilt." more>>

Traitor in the Shipyard! 

The 28-Gun American Warship USS General Pike - War of 1812. Writing the six-book Caroline Abbott series for American Girl gave me lots of opportunities to develop fascinating aspects of history into plots. Even so, the story of Sackets Harbor during the War of 1812 is so rich that I had to leave lots of things out...  more>>

Meet Caroline – And Her Home Town

kathleen ernst, author, sites and stories blog post, meet caroline - and her home town, sackets harbor new york, lake ontario,

Are you ready to meet Caroline Abbott? At long last, the 1812 character I created for American Girl is launching into the world! All six books are now available. Caroline Abbott lives in Sackets Harbor, New York. The village is on the... more>>


Where To Buy

American Girl has "archived" the Caroline doll and accessories, which means they are no longer selling them. However, some Caroline books are still available from the vendors listed below—while supplies last.

NOTE: You can buy 'as new' softcover and hardcover copies of Traitor in the Shipyard and my other Caroline books (signed and personalized as desired) directly from me. To request a quote, click HERE.

Image of logo. KINDLE eBOOK
Apple iTunes Store logo. iBOOK eBOOK
Image of Barnes & Noble logo. NOOK eBOOK

Author's Note

To date I've had the pleasure of crafting ten mystery books for American Girl, including stories about Caroline, Josefina, Kirsten, Kit, and three History Mysteries.

I love writing about strong, smart girls who meet challenges as best they can. And doing the research is a lot of fun too!

As you can imagine, having Traitor in the Shipyard nominated for the Agatha Best Children's Mystery Award was an honor!


Book Goodies

Cover of Caroline Abbott Traitor in the Shipyard American Girl mystery book by Kathleen Ernst. PREVIEW
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inside this book
Partial image of the cover page of the "Caroline Abbott Learning Guide" created by American Girl and the Smithsonian Institution. LEARNING GUIDE
For teachers and

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Sackets Harbor, New York 

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Limestone bluffs along Lake Ontario near Sackets Harbor, New York