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The Whaleboat House
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The Whaleboat House

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,280 ratings  ·  216 reviews
An enthralling crime novel set in post World War II Long Island. 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 ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 3rd 2005 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,222)
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Joan
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 more 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 fi ...more
Lobstergirl
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 ...more
Jessica
May 19, 2008 Jessica rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: Chris
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, ...more
Rick
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 more I read, the more 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 co ...more
Diana
i picked this up on a whim on a bargain book table, not knowing a single thing about author or story.

what a find! this one has a little bit of everything and could easily have gone on another 100 pages.
Toni Osborne
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
...more
Pamela
Excellent Read!! This is a story set after WWII, a story of the wealthy and the poor, of the hoi polloi of the Hamptons and the fisherman who have been there for years. There is a murder mystery that is fairly well done, but the best part is the writing, the back-stories of each character, the elements of their past that led them to who they are at the time of the novel. It’s gripping from the first page, with realistic conflicts arising everywhere. The author handled the complexity of numerous ...more
Brooke
My mom passed this book along to me bc she thought I would like to read a novel that took place in the Hamptons but this pleasantly surprising mystery story was more than just a reference to my favorite summer haunts. The writing is very fluid and Mark Mills does a good job of weaving together a multilayed murder mystery. Naturally, I loved the references to my favorite East Hampton and Amagansett places but the characters were developed nicely and like most humans were multi tiered and like a s ...more
LindyLouMac
A murder mystery set in Long Island in the late 1940’s with plenty of excellent historical and background information about the area. This I think was the reason for me that the mystery was a little slow to get going and at one time I nearly gave up. Get beyond this slow start and it is well worth reading as everything that came before begins to make sense!
Lillian Wallace youngest daughter of a wealthy New York family who have a summer home in East Hampton is found dead in mysterious circumstanc
...more
Lindsey
The book starts out with two fisherman, Conrad LaBarde and Rollo Kemp, who pull the body of a young lady out of the ocean. We come to find out that the victim, Lillian Wallace, had a secret relationship with Conrad, and neither Conrad nor the detective on the case believe her death was an accident.

The story follows Conrad and the detective, Tom Hollis, as they seperately investigate Lillian's death. The reader learns fairly early on who kills Lillian and why, but the suspense is in wondering if
...more
Lynne
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 ma ...more
Alumine Andrew
Yet another great book by Mark Mills.
In this story we meet Conrad Labarde, local fisherman and Tom Hollis, local cop in Long Island. There's a body tangled in the nets, there are suspicious locals and the high flyers who use the local town as their party playground. Who killed Lillian? We are drawn into the story through the investigation that follows.

What I like abut Mills' novels is that he researches them well and I can get right into the scenes and enjoy the landscapes. In this one the sea h
...more
Alexandra Bogdanovic
Looking back, I think it's safe to say I fell in love with the south fork of Long Island when I was just a little girl. In fact, it all began with a weekend trip to a family friend's estate in Amagansett when I was seven or eight. As a young adult working as a nanny for a Greenwich family, I looked forward to weekend trips to the Hamptons. I got married on opening day of the Hampton Classic Horse Show and honeymooned in Montauk -- and if there's one place on the face of the earth aside from Gree ...more
Ali
A departure from my typical fare, but being from Long Island, I greatly enjoyed reading about a place that is somewhat familiar to me. Some of the fishing terminology was a little overdone, so that made some parts of the book hard to understand. As far as the actual mystery, it was a bit anti-climactic - I thought the mystery was going in an entirely different (more interesting) direction, and then was greatly disappointed when it was revealed, and weakly, midway throughout the book. The rest of ...more
Amy
Good book, let down (for me) by overly involved descriptions of sailing and fishing. But strong characters, an interesting plot, and a good writing style.
Oscura
L'istinto non mi ha abbandonato nel comprare questo libro a pelle. Di solito non mi piacciono molto gli scrittori americani, a parte quelli di thriller (più o meno riusciti, siamo d'accordo), però Mills è veramente coinvolgente, ti sembra di essere lì sulla spiaggia o fra i marosi in compagnia di un'umanità povera, ma dignitosa, che si guadagna da vivere a rischio della vita e che ha dovuto affrontare orrori quotidiani, compreso quello di una guerra mondiale, e che fa da contrappunto a quella ri ...more
Elizabeth
One fine day in July 1947 Conrad Labarde a Basque fisherman and his partner Rollo are hauling in their net and the familiar twitch of the line is absent, and where are the pulls and tugs against the twine, or a flicker of a surface break? They both know that they have an inert load beneath the pewter skin of the sea and there is nothing else to do but bring it in. It is what they hoped it wasn’t, a dead woman still beautiful but sea washed and peaceful.

The setting for this mystery is the south f
...more
Monica
Long Island in 1947 was home to two separate communities - the locals, both descendants of early English settlers and ethnic immigrants, mostly fishermen and shopkeepers - and the summer people, wealthy New Yorkers who built large vacation homes and employed, but didn't mix with the locals.

Conrad Labarde, a Basque fisherman and WWII hero, and his partner Rollo, pull in their net to find the body of a young woman, drowned, apparently accidentally. She is the daughter of one of the wealthy summer
...more
Kellie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda
A very character driven and slowed paced mystery set in post WWII Long Island.

I really enjoyed this book. The pacing was slow, the characterization rich and the mystery quite involving. It's was also set in Long Island, where I live, in one of my favorite areas of the island - so I 'knew' many of the places mentioned in the book.

When Conrad Labarde is out fishing one morning he finds the body of Lily Wallace - the daughter of one of the wealthier 'summer people'. The local police officer, Tom Ho
...more
Gretchen
Oh, what a pleasant surprise!! This book sat around collecting dust in my house for a very long time and I just kept passing it over for other selections. Maybe it was because of the name...I'm still not sure exactly how to pronounce it and it doesn't tell you much about the book. I feel like there could have been a better title. Yes, it takes place in Amagansett and you do learn quite about the small town from which it gets its namesake, but the characters and the story are just as richly devel ...more
DR
A very confident, polished debut novel (©2004) from the author of 2012’s outstanding HOUSE OF THE HUNTED. AMAGANSETT (see a helpful but hard-to-read map on the endpapers) is intimately set in the summer of 1947 in Suffolk County on the South Shore of Long Island, a seaside area first settled by Europeans in 1680. Conrad Labarde, a native-born Basque, a WW II combat commando and a resourceful commercial fisherman, unexpectedly hauls a young woman’s body out of the surf in while seine-fishing from ...more
Bob
Post WWII Long Island with a cast of old time fisherman and their families and the new comers how inhabit the big mansions and country clubs along a with a few old and new townspeople and a new comer deputy working for an entrenched and full of himself chief. One of the old timers, a Basque fisherman and his partner catch a body in the net and while the coroner says death by drowning, Conrad has his suspicions as does Deputy chief Tom Hollis. While this is a mystery, it also paints a picture of ...more
Stephen Rossetti
I loved this book. A story of murder, cover-up, and scandal in post WWII small town Amagansett, Long Island. When the body of a young woman from an influential political family is pulled from the surf in a fisherman's net, the past is relived and dark secrets are exposed. Beautifully written with rich character development, the story, though not fast-paced, constantly moves forward with twists and secrets that keep the reader turning the page. Mark Mills' use of language is so masterful that I c ...more
Swiftyjess
I placed this book in my library queue but can't recall the reason. I heard about it from someone who liked it, I guess.
I pick it up from the library and hesitate to read it for several days. Finally, our holiday vacation came up and I grabbed it to add to my reading materials incase I had a free moment. Oddly, I had been discussing with my in-laws the night before the problem I was having of finding a good mystery. I went upstairs and opened up the book to give it a try and couldn't put it dow
...more
Hayden Teo
A comparatively unknown crime thriller, this is nevertheless my favourite in the genre. Few books have made me wish for living in another time, but postwar Long Island is so beautifully painted that I want to be there. Coupled with a murder mystery, political ambition and old-world family conflicts, it's a read enjoyably done in an afternoon with a cup of tea on a windy day.
Susan
In 1947, Basque-American fisherman Conrad Labarde hauls up a body in his net from the waters off Amagansett, Long Island. The victim, Lillian Wallace is the daughter of a powerful New York family, her brother poised for election to the State Senate. The autopsy rules accidental drowning, but both Conrad and Deputy Police Chief Tom Hollis suspect murder and are determined to find the killer. The murder reveals the discord between the privileged who summer at beachfront houses and want to reserve ...more
Scilla
This book takes place on Long Island. The main characters are a first -generation Basque fisherman, Conrad Labarde, and a new Deputy Chief of Police, Tom Hollis. The plot begins when Conrad and his partner drag up the body of a woman in their fishing net. Although the coroner says it's a natural drowning, Hollis is suspicious and follows up. The woman is from a wealthy family in the Hamptons and it turns out she was having an affair with Conrad. A prior hit and run accident figures into the plot ...more
Susan Mohr
pretty good little mystery. well written literary style. lots of description and background of fishing on Long Island just after WW 2. i enjoyed it more than most mystery stories
that are written just for the mystery itself.
Pat
"Conrad knew it was a body the moment he started hauling on the net. The weight was there, rising and falling
in the swell between the beach and the outer bar..."

"The wash receded to reveal a body snarled in the bag---a woman, long blond hair braided with seaweed, sand crabs scurrying; sea robins flapping, drowning in air."

It is 1947 and the rich are starting to build their playgrounds on Long Island, Sag Harbor and Amagansett.
A murder will bring two strangers together. Each of them tormented by
...more
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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
...more
More about Mark Mills...
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