I loved this book so much that when I finished it I turned back to the beginning and read it again I was drawn to it because of the name of the English edition The Whaleboat House and even so when I found that it was published in the US with the name Amagansett , a town I know as a historian as well as a frequent visitor Having lived in a hamlet on the East End of Long Island, and having studied its history, I was acutely aware of the dichotomy between the new rich and the old fishing and agricultural communities In the 1990s the conflict between the clamdiggers and the summer people was still simmering there Mills caught this perfectly for me, and I was surprised to find that several reviewers missed the point What was particularly vivid, however, was the protagonist s war experiences I still think of them often. The Whaleboat House, by Mark Mills, is a murder mystery It takes a meandering approach to the genre Character development relatively irrelevant to the plot takes up much of the almost 400 page novel As far as the murder mystery part of the plot, I thought it was thin, at best Though much time is spent on character development, it is mostly the good guys who are being developed The lack of development of the bad guys made it difficult to believe the motivations behind the killing Also, the clues were revealed in a disconcerting jumble In fact, the killer is revealed in a sort of off hand manner very anti climatic.Two minor complaints Fishing jargon I know Mills was trying to give life to the setting, but I felt that the fishing jargon was not explained well enough for a layperson to understand For example, there is a scene where the characters are harpooning swordfish and something important happens with the keg Now, to me, keg means a barrel with alcohol in it The importance of the scene, though rested on the reader s understanding of just what a keg is in this context.Sex I m not really a book prude I can handle a sex scene or two, but these sex scenes were not only totally irrelevant to the plot but cheesy and explicit in a manner reminiscent of Danielle Steel.Overall, I thought this was a fairly mediocre, meandering read. Uma excelente hist ria Um livro que nos agarra ao fim de 30 ou 40 p ginas imposs vel n o se gostar de Conrad Labarde Uma personagem enigm tica, fechada e algo sombria mas que nos ensina tanto sobre si pr prio Ensina nos acima de tudo que o amor e a justi a valem a nossa pr pria vida, mesmo que n o possamos voltar a viver esse amor, mesmo que n o possamos ver a consuma o dessa justi a Pescar n o ensina l muita coisa disse , mas ensina te a n o precisares de muita coisa. A thoroughly engrossing, superbly plotted thriller set in Amagansett and East Hampton, Long Island in 1947 Two local fisherman pull an unexpected catch from their nets the body of a beautiful, wealthy young woman The autopsy finds that she drowned, but of course we know it s not quite that simple It could make a very good movie not surprisingly, the author is also a screenwriter Scenes and dialogue flow effortlessly and you can tell which lines are going to get a laugh in a theater Mills creates an unforgettable hero in Conrad LaBarde, working class Basque fisherman, World War II veteran, death defying commando, crimesolver always four steps ahead of the local police The scenes and jargon involving commercial and charter boat fishing seem impeccable, to my unlearned eye, and Mills also incorporates some history of Long Island and some gruesome tales from WWII Two minor annoyances the author coyly brings up Jackson Pollock famous resident of the area without naming him, and the sex scenes between Hollis and Mary Gruesome sex scenes between frumpy people one of my pet peeves. Also published under the title The Whaleboat House Amagansett is a clever story set in 1947, in a small working class village east of the Hamptons The white sandy beaches and dunes have been inhabited by rugged fishermen for years and have come to attract the wealthy and cultured city folk during their summer vacation As travel became easier, a different class of people frequented the area, rich sports fisherman put a strain on locals whose livelihood depended on the ocean s bounty for their survival Where tension grows, trouble is sure to follow..Its central plot part mystery, part thriller and part historical fiction involves money, elite members of society, conniving bad guys, corrupt law enforcement, a war hero and a sexy cop It opens when Conrad Labarde and Rollo Kemp, fishermen, snag what appears to be a dead weight When they pull it out of the water much to their horror they discover the body of Lillian Wallace, a beautiful socialite and daughter of a powerful man.Deputy Chief Tom Hollis is lead investigator and one of his first priorities is to question family and friends This turns out to be quite a challenge, the locals are not cooperative and all appear to be hiding something To make things worse, his superiors pressure him from the other side, they want him to wrap up his investigation without delay and declare the incident an accidental drowning and move on Something smells fishy..The storyline meanders at times, slowly unraveling into a who done it coloured with local myths that are expertly told through fisherman folklore and tales of the sea that go back to the times of the Montaukette Indians A flashback to the war and other nuggets of history and some tender love moments all add colour to the story.This tale is powerfully told and shines in its depiction of the fishermen s ways of life and their sacrifices during the war The dialogue, characterization and plotting are riveting Some may find the pacing to be a bit slow, I did at first but soon found myself absorbed in this intricately woven tale This is an excellent and captivating novel. I m not one of those people who has any trouble quitting a book they don t like So, how a book starts can be crucial to whether I keep on reading or put it down forever I almost put this one down in the first few pages I am so glad I didn t The I read, the I was drawn in to the story, a fascinating mix of fishing lore, murder mystery, and Long Island history, with a detour into the horror of the front lines in WWII and insights into the lives of the super rich and privileged who converted Long Island into their playground I m still not sure how the author managed to pull all these disparate parts together I was surprised to read that this was the author s first book although less so when I read that he was also a screenwriter While some of the characters were painted only in broad brush strokes without much detail, the key characters had a depth to them that, together with the unfolding of the underlying mystery, made for a very enjoyable read and seemed like the work of a experienced author I could feel the lead characters inner struggles And I appreciated that they did not come fully hatched Details came out slowly, helping fill in the picture of who the characters were, where they came from and how their experiences helped shape them.Often my best barometer of how much I like a book is how hard it is to put down when bedtime comes While I made it through a night or two without finishing the book, I did find that when I got within 100 pages of the end I was unable to turn out my light, the late hour notwithstanding, until I had turned the last page. 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 NetsOn 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 Good, but not that good The murder mystery was not much of a mystery, not really very gripping More interestingly the mystery is set against a backdrop of a changing postwar culture where the local inhabitants lives are changing due to the influx of rich socialites At the heart of the mystery is the clash between old and new Add to the mix, the effect of the war and the setting should be very rich Unfortunately it feels somewhat contrived and simplistic, unconvincing There are sudden about changes in events which interrupt the flow and can be confusing The main female characters are disappointingly shallowly drawn and remarkably similar in terms of their reaction to the men in their lives, for example One might say they are a typical male view of women s desire for love and sex Suffice to say, Mills doesn t do women very well.Not a favourite. The story starts with two fisherman Conrad Labarde and Rollo Kemp pulling the body of a young woman from the sea From then on the story unfolds til it reaches it s climax and we find out who murdered her and why I found the story of the murder itself quite slow but halfway through it did pick up the pace a bit I did enjoy the sections of Conrad s past his boyhood in Spain and his experiences in WW2 but I just found the book lacked a little something for me the plot didn t grip me and make me desperate to know what happened The side story of Mary and Tom, the policeman were interesting but again not gripping On saying that I don t think this book was meant to be like this it s slow paced on purpose but maybe a bit too slow Not read any of his other books but would read another before I decided I wasn t a fan of his writing. A really good book Well written with a vivid setting and time period The plotting was smoothly done and the characterizations, from the leads to minor players, were quite realistic Very impressive for a debut and I was not the only one who thought so since it won the New Blood Dagger in 2004.
Mark Mills is a British writer of screenplays and novels His first screenplay was BAFTA nominated short film One Night Stand starring Jemma Redgrave and James Purefoy in 1993 this won Mills a Best Screenplay award at the Angers European First Film Festival in 1995.Mills s first novel was Amagansett, later reissued under the title The Whaleboat House published in 2004 this won him the Best Cr
- 400 pages
- Mark Mills
- 07 February 2017 Mark Mills