An elderly gentleman checks into a B&B in a small village in rural Ireland where he knows nobody. Four days later, his body is found in the lake.
The identity of their unknown guest raises questions for one family in particular, twin sisters Liv and Marianne, and their mother Ethel, each of whom is searching for her own place in the world.
Fred Stiller books into a b&b in Ireland without booking ahead. He requested a room for five nights, paying in cash. He is a mystery man as he takes all his label out of his clothes, hides his glasses so no traces of his real identity can be found he then takes his own life by walking into a lake and drowning.
The Ghostlights is based on a true story, from June 2009, when a man’s body was found on the beach in Co. Sligo. Despite checking into a local hotel under the name Peter Bergmann, that did not appear to be his real name and his identity remains unknown. The Ghostlights was inspired by the story of Peter Bergmann but the characters, and Fred Stiller and the location and circumstances in this story are entirely fictional.
Part of chapter 1 from The Ghostlights
At the marshy corner where the tadpoles went about their mysterious transformation, he would have released the tags, watching them flutter in the lift of the breeze and scatter like starlings from the eaves.
He could have continued on his way. Followed the path all the way around the lake watching the swan in its solitary majesty. Then back to the house with the primroses around the door. Instead, he left the path and stepped towards the water. His glasses he might have put in the bin, or more likely, placed with careful habit on one of the rocks that hid among the reeds on the edge of the lake. Without them, everything was less distinct, but he could see well enough for today.
At first the water would have been a cold approach. Welcome in its way. An initial tightening, then looseningthe sadness. Allowing a roll-call of his life, maybe. Of people and places and moments. With his eyes on the horizon, he saw low lights dancing. Sunrise his brain told him, but his heart said they were the ghostlights. Like the girl said, lighting his way home.
The breakdown of the body is the most private thing. He persisted, and who knew but there was one final miraculous pleasure to be found in his own resolve. Deeper and deeper he went until he lost his footing and descended, clotted in the very lake itself.
I would like to thank Legend Press for sending me this book and for inviting me to take in the blog tour.
About the author Grainne Murphy
Gráinne Murphy grew up in rural west Cork, Ireland. At university she studied Applied Psychology and forensic research, then worked for a number of years in Human Resources. In 2011 she moved with her family to Brussels, where she lived for 5 years. She has now returned to West Cork, working as a self-employed language editor specialising in human rights and environmental issues. Gráinne has received a number of award shortlistings and longlistings for her writing including the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair Award 2019, Blue Pencil Agency First Novel Award 2019, Caledonia Novel Award 2019, Virginia Prize for Fiction 2013 and the Bath Novel Award 2015.