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The Lamplighters

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  289 ratings  ·  192 reviews
They say we'll never know what happened to those men.

They say the sea keeps its secrets...

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three m
Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: March 4th 2021 by Picador (first published 2021)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
For this novel, Emma Stonex takes inspiration from the Eilean Mor lighthouse mystery on the Flannan Isles in the Outer Hebrides in 1900 where lighthouse keepers disappeared. She shifts the location and time to Cornwall in 1972 where at Maiden Rock, 3 lighthouse keepers disappear, in the odd circumstances where the inside locks are on and the clocks have stopped. There is the assumption that the men were swept away by the sea, but other theories and rumours abound. In 1992, 3o years later, a writ ...more
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars. I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Canada for this atmospheric and haunting book. Its author, Emma Stonex, was inspired by the mysterious, unsolved disappearance of three lighthouse keepers in 1900 from a lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides. Interesting accounts of this true disappearance can be found by googling the Eilean Mor lighthouse.

This fictional novel moves the event to a Cornwell lighthouse in the Atlantic, miles from the shore. In 1972, three k
Jenny Lawson
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. An interesting book and I've always been fascinated about the story that this was lightly based on. It went off on a lot of tangents that didn't always go anywhere but I still really enjoyed it. ...more
Emer (A Little Haze)
The Lamplighters is inspired by a true life mystery when three lighthouse keepers disappeared from a lighthouse without a trace in 1900.

Here the action is moved to 1972 when the lighthouse keepers disappeared from a lighthouse known as Maiden Rock and to twenty years after their disappearance in 1992. The characters in this novel are entirely fictional.

In 1972 we are given chapters from each of the lighthouse keepers. Principal Keeper Arthur, Assistant Keeper Bill and Supernumerary Keeper Vinc
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love a good mystery and knowing this was based on a true story made this book stand out to me.

Three lighthouse men have disappeared whilst on shift at the lighthouse, the building is empty and they have vanished without a trace.

The story alternates between 1972 before the men disappeared and twenty years later where a writer is seeking to find out what happened to the three missing men.

The mens wives are interviewed and it soon becomes apparent that secrets have been withheld.

This book kept m
Alan Cotterell
Thank you to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan and the author for the chance to review.
I really liked the premise of this book when I requested it from Netgalley This is based on a true story, where all three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse 15 miles from the shore. The door is locked from the inside, the clocks have both stopped at the same time, the log records a mighty storm even though the skies have been clear all week. So, what happened?

I expected “The Lamplighters”, to be full of intrigue
In December 1900, the three keepers of the lighthouse on Eilean Mòr, one of the Flannan Isles in the Outer Hebrides, disappeared without a trace. The lighthouse itself was found to be clean and in good shape, with no indication of any struggle or unusual occurrence. The only detail suggesting a hurried abandonment of the lighthouse, was the discovery of one set of oilskins, suggesting that one of the men – unlike the others – had left the lighthouse without them.

The Flannan Isles disappearance
the lightkeepers

Visit the locations in the novel - the fictional one and the ones which inspired the novel

A novel to transport you to a real-life locked room mystery set in a lighthouse..

There’s something about a locked room mystery that gives me the excited chills. Something about a locked room mystery based on true fact makes me shiver with excitement so much I can barely breathe. So, it’s fair to say I went into this novel breathless. I didn’t get that back until the end of the book. I almost fainted from l
Liz Barnsley
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Blimey that was an excellent, atmospheric read with a classic locked room mystery at the heart of it, a mystery that came from a real life event you can read about here.

That’s the inspiration but Emma Stonex imagines her own set of events and characters and it is absolutely addictive, often very creepy and with some beautiful writing.

I was completely engaged with this which is a deep character driven drama of many layers. A bit Russian doll like, unraveling a layer at a time, slowly you come to
Louise Wilson
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Cornwall, 1972: Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The enterance dooor is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper's weather logdescribes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

Twenty years laer, the women they left behind are strugging to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. A writer wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story.

Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
The unsolved mystery of the disappearance of Eilean More’s three lighthouse keepers in 1900 remains one of history’s most intriguing puzzles: what happened to the men, and how do you explain the strange coincidences that defy a logical explanation? Emma Stonex has run with the idea to create her latest novel and is ready to offer a plausible theory. Even though her story is set in Cornwall in the 1970’s and features fictional characters, it bears a lot of resemblance to the Flannan Isles mystery ...more
Rob Twinem
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
Probably going against the majority of reivews but this book did not really excite and entertain me. What was I expecting? To me a fair comparison would be the 2019 movie The Lighthouse starring William Defoe and Robert Pattinson....2 lighthouse keepers who begin to descend into madness when a storm strands them on the remote island where they are stationed. I could clearly feel the horror of what was happening it was frighteningly atmospheric. The author of The Lamplighters in no way excited me ...more
Date reviewed: September 19, 2020

When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today.

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rebecca Rouillard
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always been fascinated by the disappearance of the Flannan Isles Lighthouse Keepers and I’ve set it as a creative prompt for several children’s writing groups, so when I heard about this book inspired by those events, I was excited to see what the author made of the disappearances.

The story has been relocated from the Outer Hebrides to Cornwall and the dates have been shifted from 1900 to 1970, but the basic conditions are the same: three vanished lighthouse keepers, a door locked from the
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Three men on a lighthouse one day, none the next. The door is locked from the inside, the clocks are stopped, the dinner table is set, but no one is inside. It’s a wonderfully eerie premise, and one which becomes all the more unsettling when you find out it’s a true story.

The novel flicks backwards and forwards between time and narrative. At times we focus on the lives of the three lighthouse keepers in 1972, their daily jobs, their shifts, their feelings of isolation and worry. At others, we ju
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A truly intriguing read, I was gripped from start to finish. I had an idea in my head of how this story would end & I got it completely wrong! Told in a unique way, jumping from past to present, I loved that it held on to its secrets right up until the breathtaking conclusion. Loved it!
This is an enigmatic and mysterious tale (based on a true story), which has the most stunning setting - an exposed and remote light tower off the Cornish coast. The men who disappeared form one part of the story while the plight of the women they left behind forms another, as they tell their stories years later to an author of fiction set at sea. It's just as interesting to watch the uneasy relationship between the women as it is the men. I listened to the audiobook and fittingly the men's voice ...more
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Intriguing book based on a true story of three lamplighters who go missing.
It's been updated to the 1970/1990's.
Told across the two timelines,it gives an excellent insight into the world of the men who light the lamp,and the women who wait for them.
I was finding that fascinating enough,without the actual mystery.
Three very different characters manned the light,and they were all hiding something.

Very much enjoyed.
Rebecca | Velvet Opus
The Lamplighters is one of those books I picked up entirely at the wrong time.

Three men, lighthouse keepers, vanish mysteriously leaving their partners wondering why. It's a mystery at it's core, inspired by the lives of real lighthouse keepers and this is where the problem lay. It's very isolated. The characters are in a form of quarantine, describing the same rooms in the same tower day-after-day and even their partners, who are allowed to see other people, live isolated lives afterwards. It's
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I loved this book. I wanted to read it because I find the Flannan Isle mystery massively interesting. Having read the book, I am so pleased that it was inspired by the true story but wasn’t a retelling, it meant that it could go it’s own way without having to stick to the history. I enjoyed being absorbed by the world created within the novel without being jarred by inaccuracies or wild spec
Jan 19, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: check-library
This case has always intrigued me! Read an excerpt with Buzz Books, Can't wait to read the whole thing! ...more
The Lotus Readers
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much that I went to bed early two nights running so I could finish it uninterrupted. I was so drawn in by the isolation of this lighthouse, that it was just standing directly in the sea and no one could come on or off until the relief boat came. Inspired by true events, the story is set in two time frames. In one we learn that a writer is researching a book on a famous disappearance of three lighthouse keepers. In 1972, miles off the coast of Cornwall a relief boat arrives a ...more
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Humans are always drawn to the unexplained and mysterious. Perhaps because it is a reminder of our own frailty and the transitory nature of an individual’s experience on Earth. The idea that humans may somehow escape and outwit the fate of everyone else is a compelling one. Emma Stonex explores this through her debut ‘The Lamplighters’ which is a fictional exploration based on the real-life disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from Eilean Mor, one of the remote islands in the Outer Hebrides ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was ok

The three men go missing, the doors locked from the inside, a table laid but not eaten at, wives and families thrown into despair. But, is it possible that the men had secrets of their own?

Its as if those keepers were never here in the first place. That, or they climbed to the top and simply flew away.

The book, has got a very promising start, although about 20% in, the narrative shows the first of the many ‘plot slumps’ where the conversations seem to be going nowhere.

Story fl
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it

Three light-keepers mysteriously disappear from a remote lighthouse tower. 20 years later their disappearance remains as puzzling as ever, and all those involved sill struggle to come to terms with the aftermath. Through a series of interviews, recollections and snippets of what life must have been on one this towers, the story comes to life in its full glory. The reader is not only immersed in the potential story of a disappearance(this novel is a imagining of a real life story) but also gets t
Chantelle Hazelden
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was in awe of what the author has managed to create.

Blending the realities with the conceptualised, creating a tale that reads as true. Making it intelligent, informative and insightful.

It depicted everything with such detail.

This was a story that was so much more than just the loss of those lighthouse keepers. It is a book about love, loss and longing. A tale about deceit, distress and dilemmas. All mixed in with an undercurrent of the supernatural.

Vivid descriptions and heartfelt dialogue m
Tove R.
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I expected a lot from this book. It’s based on a true story, and it sound like an interesting story. However, the execution did not work for me at all. The writing itself is good, but I didn’t like the constant shifting of time, place, and people. I also didn’t warm up to a single one of the people in the book.

I am sure this book will be liked by many, but it just wasn’t for me. I never got into the story, and I kept on looking for the real mystery, but couldn’t find it. Have to say that I am in
Sally Boocock
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly different mystery based loosely on a true story. Set in Cornwall in 1972 it tells how three lighthouse keepers disappeared but the door was still locked from the inside.It also flits back and forth between then and 1992 as we are told the story of their wives. It is extremely informative about the towers and very atmospheric. We learn all about the lives of all three keepers and their lives before and during stints in the towers. It's a beautifully written book and you can almost he ...more
Kieran Sangha
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written yet hauntingly striking book with a central mystery at its core but, more importantly, it’s an exploration of grief in its many forms.

The chapters involving the three men reminded me heavily of ‘The Lighthouse’, particularly Arthur’s descent into madness and then the chapters focusing on the spouses left behind reminded me of ‘Broadchurch’, in that a single tragedy defines your identity.

Atmospheric, creepy and devastating, this is a cracker of a debut novel.
Katy Crowe
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I really liked the premise of this book when I requested it from netgalley and I think that there are really good things here, but in a lot of ways it's trying to be a little bit of everything. Some of the writing is really beautiful and the descriptive passages of the sea and the weather are lovely. Similarly, the sections where we have an insight into the lives of the men on the lighthouse and the women left behind on the shore are captivating and engaging and I felt that I learnt a lot.

The n
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Emma Stonex is a novelist who has written several books under a pseudonym. THE LAMPLIGHTERS is her debut under her own name and has been translated into more than twenty languages. Before becoming a writer, she worked as an editor at a major publishing house. She lives in the Southwest with her family.

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