The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex

The Lamplighters is a fictional tale based and inspired by a real mystery. Stonex was intrigued by the mystery of three lighthouse keepers who inexplicably disappeared from their lighthouse off the coast of the island of Eileen Mòr in the Outer Hebrides. The discovery was made in December 1900 and was made famous by its extraordinary circumstances that surrounded it; which perplexed all. The door was locked from the inside, the clocks had all stopped at the exact same time and the remains of a half-eaten dinner say abandoned, but there was no sign of the keepers. I had heard about this unsolved mystery on various crime podcasts in the past but never thought about it any more than that. Clearly, it had more of an impact on Emma Stonex.

People on the outside think of it as a clandestine sort of occupation, seeing as we’re quite closed off in the way we lead our lives. They think being married to a lighthouse keeper must be glamorous, because of the mystery of it

p. 27

The book is set twenty years after the disappearance of the lighthouse keepers Arthur Black, William ‘Bill’ Walker, and Vince Bourne. The book follows their wives as they are approached and interviewed by a writer hoping to unearth the truth of what happened. As he interviews the women, they reveal more about their lives with keepers, secrets are revealed as well as the dynamics between the men themselves. This is punctured by chapters of flashbacks showing the routine of the mens lives at the lighthouse together, leading up to and during the incident too. 

Now I should say, this isn’t a factual piece. It’s very much a fictional work and has been massively inspired by the real event of the disappearance but that’s not to say its a reflection of the men themselves or the event of the disappearance in December 1900.

Out here our days and nights are organised by cups of tea -especially this time of year, December, heart of winter, when it gets light so late and dark so early and always so numbingly cold


I did enjoy this book but I have to say, I weren’t as interested in it as I had hoped. I think that was due to some of the pacing. The build up took quite a bit longer than I had hoped and that made it more difficult to hold my interest in the story. I would still recommend it to anyone interested in locked-door mysteries but I would suggest holding off on any expectations to avoid disappointment.

Cheerio for now!

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