Book Reviews

The Whaleboat House by Mark Mills

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List Price: £8.99


Paperback: 368 Pages.

Published: 02 July 2007 by HarperCollins

Edition: New Ed

ISBN: 9780007161928

EAN: 9780007161928

Long Island, 1947

The men of Long Island have fished the wild Atlantic waters over the centuries. For Conrad Labarde, recently returned from the Second World War, the nets hold a sinister catch – the body of Lillian Wallace, a beautiful New York socialite.

Is it an accident or murder? Police chief Tom Hollis is convinced the roots of the tragedy lie in the twisted histories of local families. But the enigmatic Labarde insists on pursuing his own investigation. It seems the fisherman may have powerful reasons for wanting answers to the questions surrounding her death. And in this strange place where tradition meets power and riches, the truth is a rare thing indeed…


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Quiet and thoughtful

This is not a mystery thriller even though it starts with the body of a rich woman being fished out of the sea by a fisherman in postwar Long Island. The book does concentrate on the efforts of the fisherman, Conrad Laborde, and the local deputy police chief, Tom Hollis, to find out what had happened but it isn't a suspense novel and if you read it as such you will find it slow paced and lacking action. This is a book about privilege and its abuse and is set at a time where the local fishermen, who scratch out a living in a traditional way, are finding an influx of wealthy people holidaying in the vicinity. It is the contrast between these two ways of life and expectations that are at the centre of the book.

Because the area has a long tradition of working people who earn their living from the sea it has a culture and history which is valued by the locals and of no interest at all to the rich holiday makers who see local people only as workers and live a very insular life. With politics and money being as important as they usually are it seems that it is to no one's advantage to find out what happened.

This is a slow and thoughtful book. It has a lot to say about class (wealth, privilege) and change. The solution to the mystery is easy to work out but that is unimportant. What really matters is that truth will come out and that no one is made a scapegoat. I enjoyed the read

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