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Notebook and Pen

February, 2024

The Lamplighters


Emma Stonex

In the early 1900’s three lighthouse keepers disappeared without a trace from a remote lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides.  They were never found and the cause for their disappearance never uncovered. “The Lamplighters” is a fictional account inspired by this true-life mystery.

Set in Cornwall in 1972, three keepers on a lighthouse, miles from shore, completely vanish.  The only entrance to the lighthouse is locked from within.  Clocks have stopped at precisely the same time, quarter to nine.  Food is set on a table untouched.  The three men, Principal Keeper Arthur Black, Assistant Keeper Bill Walker, and Supernumerary Vincent Bourne are nowhere to be found.  Their absence from their charge, mirrors the mystery of the Outer Hebrides. 

These keepers leave behind three women Helen, wife of Arthur Black, Jenny wife of Bill Walker, and Michelle, girlfriend of Vincent Bourne.  Fast forward to 1992, twenty years after the tragic event they are no closer to revealing the truth.  Helen has her own theories, Jenny has hers, and Michele is clueless.  Trident the corporation that owns and manages the lighthouses has little to offer in the span of 20 years.  But for some reason they are adamant to keep what secrets secret.  They provide a modest pension to the women survivors, as long as they keep their mouths shut and don’t talk to the press. 

Then out of the blue a novelist appears interested in investigating the particulars and writing the authorized version of the facts.  He first convinces Helen, then Jenny, and finally Michele to tell their versions.  The book moves back and forward from the present to the past as stories are shared, ugly secrets revealed, and discord laid bare. 

The intrigue heightens to a feverish pitch as layers of the onion are pealed back one at a time.  In the end an answer is provided.  But instead of bringing closure, it only highlights the mystery.  This is a ghost story and psychological thriller.  A fun and engrossing read.  Once you pick this book up, I dare you to put it down. 

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