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5.0 out of 5 starsFascinating speculation and psychology
Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2013
This is different from Ms. Brand's crime fiction in that it's an intensely psychological drama based on a real-life mystery: the abandonment of the Mary Celeste, found adrift with her contents intact. The presence aboard of an unconsidered woman in addition to the Captain's wife, and the fascination of the Captain and crew with the "honey harlot", make this a compelling read.
Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2021
Absurd premise. Waaayyy too much self-induced drama from all characters--and leaves out fact that captains 2-year-old daughter was on board Better solution: Here's what happened:
Captain Briggs sailed the Mary Celeste on the lee side of Saint Mary's Island to take a break from the rough weather. The cook made a fire in the iron galley stove and the other mates furled some of the sails and the Mary C slowly tacked along the shoreline out of the wind as they ate their first hot food in weeks.
Just about the time they reached to open sea on the other side of Saint Mary's Island, a seaquake erupted below the vessel and shook it violently. The vibration jarred open nine barrels of alcohol. It also jarred loose the stove pipe that funneled off the sparks and smoke from the iron stove.
The idea that the alcohol fumes might be ignited by the sparks coming from the open stove pipe frightened the crew and they launch their small boat, attaching a long line to the mother ship. The line parted and the Mary Celeste sailed on slowly without the crew.
The crew had to make a choice. Head to the safety of Saint Mary's Island or try to catch the Mary C and recover the boat that they stupidly lost. The decided it was better to chase the Mary C. then admit they were the dumb crew that lost their boat.
The made the wrong choice and little boat ended up swamped by a wave. Three months later, fisherman off the coast of Spain found what appeared to be two rafts tied together drifting offshore. There was three bodies on one raft and one body on the other. The one body was wrapped in an American flag.
This was surely the remains of the crew of the Mary Celeste.