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Publisher's Summary

“Transported me effortlessly…Haunting, harrowing and heartbreaking, this is a novel that will stay with you.” (Ashley Audrain, New York Times best-selling author of The Push)

“A ghost story and fantastically gripping psychological investigation rolled into one. It is also a pitch-perfect piece of writing.... As with Shirley Jackson’s work or Sarah Waters’s masterpiece Affinity, in Stonex’s hands the unspoken, unexamined, unseen world we can call the supernatural, a world fed by repression and lies, becomes terrifyingly tangible.” (The Guardian, London)

Inspired by a haunting true story, a gorgeous and atmospheric novel about the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from a remote tower miles from the Cornish coast - and about the wives who were left behind.

What strange fate befell these doomed men? The heavy sea whispers their names. Black rocks roll beneath the surface, drowning ghosts. And out of the swell like a finger of light, the salt-scratched tower stands lonely and magnificent.

It's New Year's Eve, 1972, when a boat pulls up to the Maiden Rock lighthouse with relief for the keepers. But no one greets them. When the entrance door, locked from the inside, is battered down, rescuers find an empty tower. A table is laid for a meal not eaten. The Principal Keeper's weather log describes a storm raging round the tower, but the skies have been clear. And the clocks have all stopped at 8:45. 

Two decades later, the keepers' wives are visited by a writer determined to find the truth about the men's disappearance. Moving between the women's stories and the men's last weeks together in the lighthouse, long-held secrets surface and truths twist into lies as we piece together what happened, why, and who to believe.

In her riveting and suspenseful novel, Emma Stonex writes a story of isolation and obsession, of reality and illusion, and of what it takes to keep the light burning when all else is swallowed by dark.

©2021 Emma Stonex (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Lamplighters is magnificent. It is a debut novel as compelling as a classic ghost story; it is a locked-room mystery that exposes every secret we wish to keep safe at home. This book will take hold of you, guide you over the waves, and then plunge you under. Read it.” (Julia Phillips, best-selling author of Disappearing Earth

“Beautiful, absorbing and utterly riveting, The Lamplighters is a hymn to loneliness, to the sea, and to the stories we allow ourselves to believe when we are alone. I treasured every moment of this dazzlingly accomplished and completely unforgettable novel.” --Rosie Walsh, author of The Love of My Life 

“Superbly accomplished.... The Lamplighters is a whodunnit, horror novel, ghost story and fantastically gripping psychological investigation rolled into one. It is also a pitch-perfect piece of writing.” (The Guardian (London))  

What listeners say about The Lamplighters

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Go towards the light.....

I was hoping for a real suspense story. What I got was a lot of suspense and a lot of interpersonal relationships. At times the story dragged. But the last several chapters were brilliant

8 people found this helpful

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Beautiful story and breathtaking performance

I have rarely felt such a range of emotions reading or taking in a performance. Shock, rage, frustration, confusion, sadness, humor. Brilliant story of loss and the complexities of humanity.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Three vanish in a locked lighthouse

A writer goes on a quest to find out what happened to three lighthouse keepers that vanished off of a lighthouse that was locked from the inside.
Set 20 years after the fact, each wife is interviewed, all having their own theories and secrets. The narratives includes the keepers themselves, supposedly leading to the actual answers.
It's an interesting listen, exposing the inner thoughts of six people and how things can be misconstrued by others.
The narrators did a nice job, bringing the characters to life.

4 people found this helpful

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  • KJ
  • 05-30-21

Could not stop listening

This book was fascinating. Learning about lighthouse keepers was fascinating. Hearing the story unfold from the perspective of all the different narrators was intriguing and the narrators themselves did a fantastic job with the voices. Sometimes after leaving the book for a bit, I’d come back to it and without even looking, I could tell from the narration which character I was hearing. I recommend this book.

3 people found this helpful

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spoiler not a supernatural ghost story

this is a book more about grief, isolation & marriage. from reading the description i was expecting a supernatural story and was bored. maybe reading the book might be preferable, I became lost in the narration of the different characters, who the couples are etc. I couldnt follow it.

3 people found this helpful

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a mystery among an almost forgotten vocation

An intriguing mystery among an almost forgotten way of life. There has long been a romantic notion of what lighthouse keeping is. This book peels back the layers of romance to show a reader, that like all things we think would be blissful and romantic in lifestyle, are certainly not. An enjoyable read and a surprising ending.

3 people found this helpful

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An Amazing Book

I really enjoyed this. I couldn't stop reading. narrator was fantastic like I was there.

1 person found this helpful

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The first two hours....

The first two hours are as boring as life in a lighthouse. I dropped out.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Performances lacked any type of voice differentiation between characters

Because the female voice didn’t change in tone at all between characters and neither did the male, it was hard to tell who was talking or remembering. This was particularly difficult with this story because it was something that made it much more confusing than it already was. The novel itself would be much better read than listened to.

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This is not a mystery!

The reviews for this book are mixed. I, like many others. love lighthouses so this book intrigued me. Because of the reviews I decided to wait for a sale. Five dollars wasted. I would have been better served by reading one of the books listed at the end. This is a novel, nothing is resolved. I can t give it a good review because I feel cheated.!