The Ghost of the Mary Celeste

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A captivating, atmospheric return to historical fiction that is every bit as convincing and engrossing as Martin's landmark Mary Reilly. In 1872 the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste was discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo was intact and there was no sign of struggle, but the crew was gone. They were never found. This maritime mystery lies at the center of an intricate narrative branching through the highest levels of late- nineteenth-century literary society. While on a voyage to Africa, a rather hard-up and unproven young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle hears of the Mary Celeste and decides to write an outlandish short story about what took place. This story causes quite a sensation back in the United States, particularly between sought-after Philadelphia spiritualist medium Violet Petra and a rational-minded journalist named Phoebe Grant, who is seeking to expose Petra as a fraud. Then there is the family of the Mary Celeste's captain, a family linked to the sea for generations and marked repeatedly by tragedy. Each member of this ensemble cast holds a critical piece to the puzzle of the Mary Celeste. These three elements--a ship found sailing without a crew, a famous writer on the verge of enormous success, and the rise of an unorthodox and heretical religious fervor--converge in unexpected ways, in diaries, in letters, in safe harbors and rough seas. In a haunted, death-obsessed age, a ghost ship appearing in the mist is by turns a provocative mystery, an inspiration to creativity, and a tragic story of the disappearance of a family and of a bond between husband and wife that, for one moment, transcends the impenetrable barrier of death."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Description: 306 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN: 9780385533508
Branch Call Number: Mart


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Aug 04, 2016

This novel is a thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing read. Based on real characters and events, Martin brings together the mysterious disappearance of the crew of the Mary Celeste and the Victorian interest in psychics. Arthur Conan Doyle appears as a bombastic Victorian. Throughout the story is the presence of the sea. Highly recommended.

athompson10 Jul 25, 2015

Based around the mystery of the ship Mary Celeste, the author weaves three intersecting stories across time: the wife of the captain of the ship, a psychic relative and her journalist friend, and Arthur Conan Doyle. The stories touch lightly and are all well written, but there are still many mysteries and loose ends. I enjoyed the writing style but not the nebulousness of the narrative.

ontherideau Jun 11, 2014

My attention was held and released like a ghost ship that drifts in and out of mist in this story. Based on the Mary Celeste, an American brig found abandoned in 1872 and the people whose lives were affected by it in some way, including Arthur Conan Doyle, this tale was sometimes very slow moving and sometimes very enjoyable. It is historical sea tale intertwined with the Spiritualism movement of the time.
The ending left me feeling abandoned. I wondered if my copy was missing some pages. On reflection I see that this work of fiction mirrors the unexplained, crew & passengers disappeared, the ship found intact, floating along on the waves.
Yann Martel and Pat Conroy have written words of praise on the back cover. It merits a read, just don't expect a tidy conclusion, mystery solved. Life isn't always like that.

JCLHelenH Nov 26, 2013

Of course it is haunting. It’s also beautiful and perplexing. Martin weaves her characters together with a fine thread, always leading back to the Mary Celeste. I look forward to reading this one again.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings

BPL owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top