The Lamplighters is a story based on real events (up to a point) about three lighthouse keepers in 1972 Cornwall who disappear from their lighthouse without a trace and with the lighthouse locked from the inside.
It’s a fluffed up locked-room mystery.
The first half of the book dragged quite a bit. We got to know the three lighthouse keepers but we also got to know wives and girlfriends who were left behind after the disappearance.
Each of the characters was broken in some way, which just added to feel of this book following on the same trend of cliched mystery novels of recent years. This was not unlike a Ruth Ware novel.
What really got on my nerves in the first half, however, was the constant – or really very frequent – hinting at dark secrets that would only be revealed in the second half of the book. It became stale very fast to be told by each of the characters that something happened in the past.
It was the typical “there was something nasty in the woodshed” moment and rather than making the story or characters more intriguing, it just made me guess several of the twists early on.
I have to admit that I even saw most of the ending coming.
So, from a mystery perspective, I don’t rate this book very highly. Certainly not as high as all of the 4* and 5* reviews out there.
There was something I really enjoyed in this book, however. For a debut novel, it was oozing with atmosphere and relevant details of life as a lighthouse keeper.
Also, I feel I should add a trigger warning: gratuitous cruelty to animals.