The Ghost Ship

A Mystery of the Sea

Cover image for


Published: 1903
Language: English
Wordcount: 77,847 / 224 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 77.1
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 3,891
Added to site: 2007.04.16 16590

Dick Haldane, the narrator of this story, although only just seventeen, had been appointed fourth officer of the S.S. 'Star of the North,' Captain Applegarth, from Liverpool to New York, the day before she sailed. One grand but stormy-looking evening, when the stearmer is rapidly nearing the Fastnet light, Dick is so awed by the glorious beauty of the sunset that he forgets his errand and makes out the 'Ghost Ship.' A large fullrigged ship, her white canvas crimson from a last expiring gleam of the afterglow; but her sails were torn and tattered, and she was flying her flag at half-mast—a signal of distress. Dick shouts: 'Sail ho! A ship in distress!' But he alone sees the strange craft -- a very murderous craft indeed. Mr. Hutcheson has written a capital sensational yarn of the sea.

Show Excerpt

ship's side lights, green and red.

"What are you about, lamp-trimmer?" I called out sharply on catching sight of him palavering there with the mulatto, the artful beggar furtively slipping the tin pannikin out of which he had been drinking into the bosom of his jumper. "Here's two bells struck and no lights up!"

"Two bells, sir?"

"Aye, two bells," I repeated, taking no notice of his affected air of surprise. "There's the ship's bell right over your head where you stand, and you must have heard it strike not five minutes ago."

"Lor', Master Dick, may I die a foul death ashore if I ever heard a stroke," he replied as innocently as you please. "Howsomdever, the lamps is all right, sir. I ain't 'ave forgot 'em."

"That's all right, then, Greazer," I said, not being too hard on him, and excusing the sly wink he gave to Prout as he told his barefaced banger about not hearing the bell, in memory of his past services. "Come along now and rig them up smart, or you'll have Mr Fosset af


Average Rating of 3.5 from 2 reviews: ****

Quite a good read if you like a nautical yarn but it would have worked just as well as a short story and feels a bit drawn out, especially when a second story is tacked on at the end. The convincing depiction of life at sea and the people of Haiti might be enough to keep you reading though.


When Dick Haldane, the newly appointed fourth officer aboard the "SS Star of the North," spots a derelict ship signaling distress as it emerges from the mist, no one believes his report except the Captain. But when disasters befall the crew, suspicions arise that a ghost ship has brought a curse to the cargo steamer. Was the vessel a figment of Haaldane's imagination? Was it a ghost ship? Or was it a true case of distress at sea? The book is a mystery, a nautical adventure, and a romance. A bit wordy at times, but the author obviously knows his ships. The book is a fun read, although the antagonists are decidedly NOT politically correct.

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