In December of 1872 the cargo ship the Mary Celeste was found drifting in the North Atlantic. The ship was seaworthy and the cargo was untouched. The unexplained disappearance of the crew (and the captain’s wife and child) became one of the most famous nautical mysteries of all time. And while the tale has been recounted innumerable times, Valerie Martin’s historical novel, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste, is a telling unlike any other. When a young Arthur Conan Doyle publishes his account of the Mary Celeste, the story is appropriated by the burgeoning Spiritualist movement in the US.
The Ghost of the Mary Celeste unfolds via multiple accounts – including articles, journals, and letters – and from a variety of perspectives. The result is a fascinating and intriguing tale about faith, superstition, the act of storytelling itself, and of course, the sea.
About the Author
Valerie Martin is the author of ten novels, including Trespass, Mary Reilly, Italian Fever, and Property, three collections of short fiction, and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi, titled Salvation. She has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as the Kafka Prize (for Mary Reilly) and Britain’s Orange Prize (for Property). Martin’s last novel, The Confessions of Edward Day was a New York Times notable book for 2009.
Valerie Martin has taught in writing programs at Mt. Holyoke College, University of Massachusetts, and Sarah Lawrence College, among others. She resides in Dutchess County, New York and is currently Professor of English at Mt. Holyoke College.
Beyond the Book