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The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House Paperback – 28 Aug 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405917008
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405917001
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

I loved the gloriously, shamelessly old-fashioned title, with its hints of Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey . . . A fizzingly fresh story of mysteries-within-mysteries (Saga magazine)

An elegantly written debut by an author to watch out for (Random Things Through My Letterbox, blogspot)

Vivid and colourful . . . A well thought out, thorough mystery that does have you wanting to turn the next page (Lisa, Lisa Talks About)

A tale of mystery, secrets and love (Female First)

Highly absorbing (Love Reading)

A delicious new mystery . . . We started reading this over lunch yesterday, and became so engrossed, it was a struggle to get back to work (Novelicious)

About the Author

Stephanie Lam was born and raised in London. She now lives in Brighton, close to the sea. The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is her first novel.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I'm not usually a reader of mystery novels, but this was given to me by a friend, and how glad I am it was. It reminded me of nothing so much as a modern cross between Agatha Christie and Daphne de Maurier. Lam's dual 1924 and 1965 timelines intertwine effortlessly, keeping this 500 page novel pacy and fluid. I loved her 2 main protagonists, Rosie and Robert, their distinct voices came through loud and clear, with clever writing giving us the echoes of the era through their speech. Her fictional seaside town, Helmstone, was vivid and believable, and the layering of the 20s and 60s towns, made for some very satisfying ghosts and echoes, as the characters' narratives overlapped. This book was responsible for more than a few late night reading sessions, as I tried to guess how it would end. I thought I knew. I was wrong! How satisfying when an author outpaces and outguesses you! This is an intelligent, literary novel - but as accessible as any holiday read or train book, and I heartily recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Well I won't write about the story here as plenty of other reviewers have done so. But I wanted instead to write about the way spending time with "The Mysterious Affair of Castaway House" has made me feel. I am writing this when I have JUST finished reading Stephanie Lam's novel, and I am sad my time spent in her fictional Helmstone is at an end. I loved this book! So much that I might just start reading it again now. Something I often do with DVD films I enjoy. I just start them all over straight away in the same sitting, because I want more, and because I know I will have missed so many details. Or maybe I will wait a bit until I have forgotten the story's intricacies so I can really savour them again. The fact is I have been reading Castaway House during a period of being so exhausted and really needing a holiday. But I couldn't afford one in terms of time or money. So instead I have given myself some rare time off just to read. And well it has been so relaxing and beguiling to get lost in this book and lounge about abit during the day or have late lie-ins and take a mini break this way. The reality is this is something I never manage to do at home, so it is a tribute to the story that I have got a bit addicted to it and couldn't stay away. Fabulous. A micro holiday at home in little hours here and there of pure delicious story-guzzling! All credit to Stephanie creating something that can hook you in so happily with its structure, characters and sense of place; also an interesting clean kind of writing I enjoyed. I can see this as a TV serial or film. Enjoy it now as the pure joy of turning paper pages. Unless you are a Kindle person. Sure to be just as good!
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Set in the same house at two different times in its history - 1924 and 1965 - this is an interesting, if overlong novel. The concept appealed to me but I felt the middle of the books sagged rather and I started asking myself whether I really cared what had happened to any of the characters.

The story is narrated by Rosie Churchill in 1965 and Robert Carver in 1924. Rosie has left home for reasons which are only gradually revealed and is renting one of the down at heel flats into which Castaway House has been converted Robert stayed at Castaway House one hot summer with his cousin who owned the house.

Rosie is curious about Robert Carver because she finds a pencil drawing of him and finds some graffiti about him carved into a window sill. As her own life seems to be spiralling out of control trying to find out what happened in 1924 takes her mind off her own problems.

It is interesting to see how the author interweaves the two strands of the narrative and the books starts off well but for me it lost its momentum and sort of fizzled out at the end. I'm sure this author will write other, and better books but this for me was just an average sort of read. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I do like it when a book lives up to its title so I pleased to report that there are a number of mysteries between the pages of this debut novel by Stephanie Lam.

This book uses the dual time line style of narrative with alternate chapters narrated by Rosie Churchill in 1965 and Robert Carver in 1924. Rosie is just 18 and has left home before finishing school to share a flat in Castaway House. When Rosie is given a picture of Robert (because they share the same initials) her interest is piqued and she determines to find out more about him. Due to the two are separated by a mere forty years she is able to meet people who were around at the same time and as expected the more she finds out the deeper the mystery becomes. This is not all though because Rosie has her own secrets as do other members of the household.

In 1924 Robert Carver spends his summer with his cousin Alec Bray and his wife Clara in the summer while convalescing from an illness in the seaside town of Helmstone; no small shared flat for Robert though at this time the house is at its best complete with servants but it soon becomes apparent that Alec and Clara are far from happily married and Robert begins to regret his decision but then he meets the next door neighbours who include the Doctor’s daughter Lizzie and Robert graduates from boy to man.

This book is a whopping 500 plus pages but at no time did I feel that any parts of the book needed editing which illustrates the power of Stephanie Lam’s writing. The period details aren’t quite as defined as I would have liked but the two time periods were defined enough to avoid any confusion between them but I felt it relied quite heavily on the readers own knowledge to pick up on some of the references.
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