|The Ghost of the |
The Briggs family of Marion, Massachusetts has always made its livelihood from the sea. But the sea has made the family pay fort the privilege. By the time Benjamin Briggs woos Sarah Cobb, it has already claimed two brothers, a sister, and numerous other relatives. They accept it stoically, but Benjamin is already planning to retire his captaincy before he takes command of the Mary Celeste. Martin doesn't change history in her book and Benjamin, his wife, his daughter, and the rest of the crew disappear into history.
|Sarah Cobb Briggs,|
the captain's wife
I was tempted to classify The Ghost of the Mary Celeste as nonfiction because its narrative syncs up so perfectly with the actual history. It's fiction just because Martin turned the history into a story, creating the log so that there would be a conclusion. The ship's own history wouldn't do. The Mary Celeste had a reputation as a bad luck ship, changing owners rapidly after 1872 and meeting an ignoble end in a failed insurance scam off the coast of Gonâve Island, Haiti.
From the title, you might expect this book to be about an actual haunting. Instead, the characters are haunted by the disappearance in different--but less supernatural--ways. The story follows Conan Doyle. The story dogs Violet Petra, providing a means to expose her lies. The story still haunts people today because we'll probably never know what really happened. The Ghost of the Mary Celeste is a very clever, very unusual book.