DiscoverAction & Adventure

Letter from Galapagos

By

Loved it! 😍

A slow-burn mystery and adventure novel with well-researched details about flying, sailing, and French Polynesia

Synopsis

Lost on the high seas! Surely a Fingest Yacht, Rolls Royce of the oceans and equipped with every safety and navigational device, can't simply vanish? However, that's what appears to have happened.

Debbi, widow of the late founder Frank Fingest and now the company CEO, is back in England running things, while her her husband Harry, who is not hot on business, is sailing round the world. He sends her a letter from Galapagos before starting the long haul across the Pacific, but that is the last she hears.

That letter? Well, it was not posted in the usual way, but in a 'fun' letter box on remote Floreana island, where travellers are encouraged to become ad hoc postmen and personally deliver any letter with an address near to where they live at home. Which is how Tom Wells becomes involved in the search for Harry Fingest.

Travel, humor and romance are all ingredients in the search for Harry Fingest, a story which will not only have you guessing, but also leave you with a smile on your face.

I had almost given up on this book because the pace is quite slow and there is quite a bit of information about the political and social history of French Polynesia and technical details about flying and sailing. Only later did I realize that these details were necessary to understand the sequence of events.


Perhaps we’re so used to fast-paced, high-octane action that we expect every story to progress at breakneck speed. But here, our MC takes his time to get over jet lag, does touristy things, wines and dines, and even resolves a romantic dilemma.


Writing

The author puts his lifetime of experience in flying and travel to good use, peppering the book with enough detail to make it a sort of semi-travelogue on the islands in the Pacific Ocean. The action begins in the Galapagos islands and then moves on to Cook Islands, Tahiti, and Bora Bora. It may help to take a look at the map of French Polynesia if, like me, you don't have much of an idea about the geography of the place.


The author writes in a clear and forthright fashion, showing subtle humor every now and then. Enough restraint is shown in the "explicit" moments to make it comfortable reading for most people.


Plot

The plot is complex but laid out neatly, and we're introduced to it step by step, so it isn't overwhelming or frustrating. All the loose ends are neatly tied up at the end, and there's even a surprise happy ending which I hadn't anticipated.


The only thing I had trouble believing in was the romance--even though it took time to develop, it seemed too "long-distance" to blossom the way it did. I feel the time leaps were not readily apparent, so it seemed like too-quick romance to me.


Characters

Tom Wells, the male protagonist, is shown gallivanting in French Polynesia and yet, he isn't the typical, high-on-style movie hero. He is more of an unwilling traveler, but is persuaded by Debbie's promise of excitement and money.


Debbie came off as too-trusting of Tom, who is just the bearer of a message. She also seemed too willing to write off Harry, her husband, and move on to other things. But she is quite practical financially, which I found a good thing.


Final Thoughts

If you can get over the leisurely development of the story, you should be able to enjoy the neatly laid out plot immensely. 



Reviewed by

I'm an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction.

I'm open to reading books of all genres except horror, erotica, and spirituality.

I enjoy mystery, romance, and science fiction novels.

I'm also interested in non-fiction books on business, health & wellness, and self-help.

Synopsis

Lost on the high seas! Surely a Fingest Yacht, Rolls Royce of the oceans and equipped with every safety and navigational device, can't simply vanish? However, that's what appears to have happened.

Debbi, widow of the late founder Frank Fingest and now the company CEO, is back in England running things, while her her husband Harry, who is not hot on business, is sailing round the world. He sends her a letter from Galapagos before starting the long haul across the Pacific, but that is the last she hears.

That letter? Well, it was not posted in the usual way, but in a 'fun' letter box on remote Floreana island, where travellers are encouraged to become ad hoc postmen and personally deliver any letter with an address near to where they live at home. Which is how Tom Wells becomes involved in the search for Harry Fingest.

Travel, humor and romance are all ingredients in the search for Harry Fingest, a story which will not only have you guessing, but also leave you with a smile on your face.

LETTER FROM GALAPAGOS


ONE


Communicating by shoving bits of paper through a red slot is now almost as quaint as travelling by stagecoach; snail mail has become a relic of the past. The post office on Floreana Island is even more basic, just a simple wooden box covered in a colourful array of strange adverts: ‘Halfmoon Outfitters’; ‘Aus.NAZ. Alpini’; ‘Space Cowboy’.

         A clue to its origins is a date etched in the wood: 1792. This was when European whalers, far from home, first suggested simply dropping any communication into a box. In return, everyone was expected to browse through what was lying there, extract anything with an address close to where they lived and hand it in personally when they got back. Stamps had not been invented and delivery could vary from a few months to never, but it was better than nothing.

The centuries rolled on. Travel progressed from sailing at six knots, if winds were favourable, to steaming at maybe twenty knots, to jetting at five hundred. The Floreana Post Office remained open, roasting in the tropical sun, eventually becoming merely a tourist attraction.

Although these letters can today be forwarded in the usual way when reaching civilisation, the whole point now is to bring travellers together; to meet others with a similar interest. In that box on a Pacific beach I’d happened upon a letter with an address only five minutes from my home; the name on the envelope ‘Debbi Fingest’. This could be anyone from a teenager to someone in their nineties, but the expense of Galapagos travel can be a barrier to those of tender years, while distance deters many oldies. A mature lady was the most likely, which meant Debbi might be worth a visit. Better luck this time, because my Galapagos trip, while fabulous for the wildlife, had been a disaster for the supposedly tame life. My girlfriend, Brenda, and the local animals had swapped roles, the sea lions, iguanas and birds all vying to be best mates, while my human partner had been a wild pain in the backside. As an attempt to repair a rocky relationship, the trip had been an abject failure.

But Brenda was history and Debbi beckoned. Or so I told myself. She might be an octogenarian; or lesbian; or married to a seven-foot hulk with six children. Ladbrokes would offer odds of a hundred to one against her being an unattached person of interest. But unless you tried…

Rejecting the idea of turning up on her doorstep, I made a preliminary call, timed at 7.30pm, on the assumption she would have a job.

The phone was answered by a female.

“Debbi Fingest?”

“Yes?” She sounded suspicious.

Most cold calls are quickly terminated, so I gabbled: “I have a letter for you from the Galapagos.”

No immediate answer, but the line remained open. Then: “From the Galapagos? Who are you?”

“My name is Tom Wells. I’ve just come back from the islands. You know that post box on Floreana…”

“Never been there.”

Silly me. I was talking to the letter’s recipient, not the sender. But she was still listening.

“There’s a box where you can put letters, without any stamps…” I was explaining it badly, scrambling to retain her attention.

“Don’t they have a proper post office?”

“Of course. This place is more a tourist gimmick.”

“You’re having me on…”

“Look, I’m just Postman Pat.”

“You said your name was Tom.”

Dear God! Had this woman never heard of Postman Pat?

“My name is Tom Wells,” I said again, beginning to wish I’d never started. “On Floreana Island in the Galapagos they have this box for letters. Not a proper post office, just a bit of fun. You drop in your own letter, then see if there’s anything addressed to near where you live. I picked up this one because you happen to be just around the corner from here.”

“Hmm… I see. I think.” Now definitely curious.

“I can easily put a stamp on it, pop it in the post the usual way.”

“No, no. Sorry if I’ve been rude. You see, I’m puzzled. And anxious. My husband Harry stopped off in the Galapagos recently but has now gone all quiet. Although he can’t send wish-you-were-here cards from the wilds of the Pacific, he can communicate, and it must be ten days since I last heard from him. That letter might be a clue to what he’s up to. So don’t post it. Can you come over and bring it with you?”

“Now?”

“Unless you’re too busy.”

“No, I’ve eaten. And there’s nothing much on the telly.”

“You did say you lived nearby, so see you in five. Or however long it takes.”

About the author

Rolf Richardson spent 25 years as an airline pilot before turning to photography and cruise lecturing, a lifetime of travel covering some 110 countries. He is now writing 'Easy Read' fiction, set in some of the places he has visited. Seven of his ebooks are available on Amazon view profile

Published on October 25, 2019

Published by Matador

60000 words

Genre: Action & Adventure

Reviewed by

Enjoyed this review?

Get early access to fresh indie books and help decide on the bestselling stories of tomorrow. Create your free account today.

or

Or sign up with an email address

Create your account

Or sign up with your social account