In the small town of Amagansett, perched on Long Island′s windswept coast, generations have followed the same calling as their forefathers, fishing the dangerous Atlantic waters. Little has changed in the three centuries since white settlers drove the Montaukett Indians from the land. But for Conrad Labarde, a second-generation Basque immigrant recently returned from the Second World War, and his fellow fisherman Rollo Kemp, this stability is shattered when a beautiful New York socialite turns up dead in their nets.
On the face of it, her death was accidental, but deputy police chief Tom Hollis - an incomer from New York - is convinced the truth lies in the intricate histories and family secrets of Amagansett′s inhabitants. Meanwhile the enigmatic Labarde is pursuing his own investigation. In unravelling the mystery, this haunting and evocative novel captures a community whose way of life is disappearing, its demise hastened by war in Europe and the incursions of wealthy city dwellers in search of a playground.
What they said:
′This is an intriguing, atmospheric, literary crime novel. The uneasy juxtaposition of two communities is brilliantly evoked by Mark Mills′ Daily Mail
′A remarkable first novel. Written with all the wit, lyrical language and slow character development one would search for in the literary department, the book is as rich in time frame and location as any you′d find in the best historical fiction. Mills′ tale gently yet persistently pulls readers in′ LA Times
′Beautifully written, character-driven book, with its exotic Long Island sound locale and lyrical descriptions... Mark Mills has written a first novel that reverberates in the mind with the force of a literary epiphany′ Irish Times
′Subtle and stylish. Mills is clever, unravelling the story from several angles′ Observer
′The requisite qualities of a film script - atmospheric details, lucidity and a simple, spare style′ Sunday Telegraph
Class and prestige influence events throughout the novel. To what extent do you think the crises of the novel are the result of the quest for privilege and power?
Different types of relationships are explored throughout the novel. Which type of relationship do you think is most secure? That of the family? The couple? The old friend?
Many people feel they are the ′outsider′ in the town: the silent fisherman, the socialite, the lonely policeman. Who, if anyone, do you feel is truly a part of the community? Who, if anyone, is completely excluded?
If you like The Whaleboat House you might also like:
The Way The Crow Flies
The Secret History
About the author:
Mark Mills is a screenwriter. His film credits include The Reckoning, an adaptation of Barry′s Unsworth′s Morality Play. The Whaleboat House is his first novel.
About Mark Mills