Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Whaleboat House” as Want to Read:
The Whaleboat House
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Whaleboat House

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,449 ratings  ·  228 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Whaleboat House, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Whaleboat House

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,526)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, after reading The Savage Garden. I love Mills' writing. It's not terribly complicated but it's very evocative. He captures a place really well and even a time. This place and time for this story is a small fishing community on Long Island neighboring the Hamptons in the early 1950s. It's recent history yet definitely history as the wealthy people have swallowed up this part of the world. Mills has written a one-off mystery which has the person ...more
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
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
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.
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 84 85 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Within Arm's Reach: A Novel
  • It Feels So Good When I Stop
  • Internecine
  • Angel Rock
  • The Fifth Servant
  • A Knife Edge (Vin Cooper, #2)
  • Fat White Vampire Blues (Fat White Vampire, #1)
  • Lake Magic
  • Traitor (Stratton, #6)
  • The Sacred Cut (Nic Costa, #3)
  • Skuld
  • Countdown: The Liberators
  • Alting har sin pris (Konrad Simonsen, #2)
  • Cold Light (Charles Resnick, #6)
  • Amigoland
  • The Anatomy of Ghosts
  • The California Roll
  • Undercurrents
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 about Mark Mills...
The Savage Garden The Information Officer House of the Hunted Waiting for Doggo Scariest Stories You've Ever Heard

Share This Book