The Whaleboat House (Paperback) by Mark Mills

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List Price: £7.99

Paperback: 368 Pages.

Published: 02 July 2007 by HarperCollins

Edition: New Ed

ISBN: 0007161921

EAN: 9780007161928

Review by Anne

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars (4 from a possible 5)

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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