A mystery unsolved to this day
A mystic who confounds the cynics
A writer looking for the story that will make his name
A ghost ship appears in the mist. To the struggling author Arthur Conan Doyle, it is an inspiration. To Violet Petra, the gifted American psychic, it is a cruel reminder. To the death-obsessed Victorian public, it is a fascinating distraction. And to one family, tied to the sea for generations, it is a tragedy.
In salons and on rough seas, at sÃ©ances and in the imagination of a genius, these stories converge in unexpected ways as the mystery of the ghost ship deepens. But will the sea yield its secrets, and to whom?
THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE is a wonderfully ingenious novel, compelling, convincing and exciting.Valerie Martin is a writer of immense talent and insight. Her latest novel weaves a beautiful tale of loss, love and the connections that link us. One moment we're aboard the doomed ship, another we're in the pages of a diary, yet another we're looking at a tragedy. THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE offers readers a riveting cast and evocative prose.A masterpiece of fine detail and intense reimagining.In December 1872, the brig the Mary Celeste was discovered in the middle of the Atlantic, headed for Gibraltar, perfectly intact, and with no one aboard. The famous mystery lies at the heart of this wonderful, truly haunting novel, but it's a mystery which this very talented American novelist approaches obliquely and from a handful of viewpoints, before and after the ship's disappearance... It is all really rather brilliantly done - fluently written, vividly imagined, moving and genuinely, chillingly spooky.This tale of ghost ships, mystery writers and seances is dripping with atmosphereThe Ghost of the Mary Celeste
is an unusual page-turner from an Orange Prize-winning novelist, paying homage to Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad and Conan DoyleThis is a fiction permeated by absence. Gradually we come to understand that it is not just the events about theMary Celeste
that are unknowable: that mystery is merely a spectacular version of the enigmas that haunt all transactions. The amused clarity of Martin's prose lends itself well to anatomising the ineffable.The discovery of the Mary Celeste in 1872, adrift and unmanned, continues to inspire and intrigue. The enigma surrounding its fate is retold in this riveting tale that delivers a convincing portrait of the era, while also sustaining our curiosity. Masterfully weaving fact and fiction, it focuses on the relationship between a cynical journalist and the psychic cousin of the missing ship's captain, as they both try to unearth what happened. Written in vivid prose, it is an evocative account of Victorian scepticism. A maritime ghost story that keeps you guessing.A sly and masterly historical novel, a page-turner written with intelligence and flairVivid descriptions of life at seaThis historical novel explores with eerie brilliance the stories that are created to make sense of things that are inexplicable... In this intelligent, impressionistic work, Martin never tackles the story of the ship's mysterious vanishing head-on. Instead, she plays with notions of 19th-century ghost and sensation stories to draw the reader into a death-obsessed Victorian culture.Valerie Martin has woven a brilliant novel around the main characters whose lives were touched by this tragedy... This book is a true page turner. It reminded me somewhat of "The Luminaries" (somewhat shorter!) in the entwining of the lives of the main players... It is a highly readable, emotional (but never sentimental) version of events. Highly recommended both for groups and the individual reader.Martin builds a fascinating world around her main players, blurring the line between fact and fiction with aplomb. But the author's richest writing is in the numerous moments where the story takes to the water - these passages are wonderfully evocative, vividly describing life at sea, where calm and beauty can give way to chaos and tragedy at a moment's notice. Part ghost story, part seafaring adventure, I recommend this to anyone who fancies bringing a bit of mystery into their literary livesA sly and masterly historical novel, a page-turner written with intelligence and flair... Through her ingenious weaving of fiction and fact, she both 'solves' the mystery and (as one of her characters says) deepens it ... Valerie Martin never sacrifices the richness of her novel for easy answers. She's more interested in the questions. And so, then, are we.Martin, who won Britain's Orange Prize for her historical novel "Property", slips into the 19th century with the ease of a time traveler. Her period set pieces are superb, from descriptions of the Briggs family picking plums for jam ("The trees were dripping heavy, dark fruit") to Conan Doyle's scrutiny of the Mediterranean-themed garden a sea captain's widow has planted in a West Hampstead housing development, with rosemary bushes pruned into pyramids and pots of begonias "shiny as porcelain."an intricate, suspenseful novelA bravura bookValerie Martin has created a gripping fictionalisation of the passengers' storiesTHE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE is a wonderfully ingenious novel, compelling, convincing and exciting.Valerie Martin is a writer of immense talent and insight. Her latest novel weaves a beautiful tale of loss, love and the connections that link us. One moment we're aboard the doomed ship, another we're in the pages of a diary, yet another we're looking at a tragedy. THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE offers readers a riveting cast and evocative prose.From the ORANGE PRIZE-winning author, an enthralling novel about the enduring mystery of the Mary Celeste, an infamous mystic and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Valerie Martin is the author of two collections of short fiction and six novels, including Italian Fever, The Great Divorce and Mary Reilly [the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story, from the viewpoint of a housemaid, which was filmed with Julia Roberts and John Malkovich. Her most recent book is a non-fiction work about St Francis of Assisi: Salvation: Scenes from the Life of St Francis. She lives in upstate New York.
THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE shows Valerie Martin writing at the very height of her powers. It is an exceptional novel with huge commercial as well as literary appeal.Interest in the Mary Celeste, in Arthur Conan Doyle and in Victorian mysticism never goes away. This novel has an irresistible combination of characters and plot strands.Valerie Martin's novels consistently attract ecstatic across-the-board review coverage.Valerie Martin won the ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION with her novel PROPERTY.