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And the Sea Will Tell Paperback – April 17, 2006
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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And the Sea Will Tell spins a riveting story--a story that could have been the backbone for a classic novel by Herman Melville or Joseph Conrad. Two couples--one wealthy and married, the other an ex-con and his hippie girlfriend-- separately set sail for a remote South Pacific island, each hoping to play "Adam and Eve" in paradise. Instead of getting away from it all, they take it with them-- their pasts and prejudices, and the petty battles over status and material goods that arise from their different social classes. Only two people out of the original four live through the experience. One of them has the extraordinary good luck to be defended in court by master attorney Vincent Bugliosi (author of Helter Skelter). As the Los Angeles Times writes, "The book succeeds on all counts. The final pages are some of the most suspenseful in trial literature." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In 1974, wealthy Californians Mac and Muff Graham sailed to Palmyra Island, 1000 miles south of Hawaii, in their boat the Sea Wind . Buck Walker and Jennifer Jenkins arrived soon after on the same atoll, fleeing drug charges in Hawaii. Several months later, Walker and Jenkins returned to Hawaii in the Sea Wind , claiming that the Grahams were presumed dead when the dinghy in which they had gone fishing was washed ashore unmanned. However, in 1980, vacationers on Palmyra found bones soon identified as those of Muff Graham, who was determined to have been shot. Walker and Jenkins were charged with murder: in separate San Francisco trials, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and she was acquitted. Writing with Henderson ( Empire of Deceit) , Bugliosi ( Helter Skelter ), who served as Jenkins's attorney, offers a case history which could have been a true-crime classic if not for the 250 tedious pages devoted to his client's 23-day trial. Photos not seen by PW. Literary Guild main selection.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I love Vincent Bugliosi's books. He was such a knowledgeable and compassionate man, but in this book, I always wonder at the item in his appendix about being surprised that so many people over the years thought Mac was the one who murdered Muff. Obviously that's not what happened, Mac would never have abandoned his beloved boat the Sea Wind to be rid of his wife, and yet I always thought it was a fair assessment. Bugliosi doesn't just talk about the trial and how hard he worked to save Jennifer Jenkins (real name Stephanie Stearns) from herself. He also talks about Mac and Muff Graham. And it's incredible how really similar Mac and Muff were to Buck and Jennifer.
Here you have two men determined to live all alone on a deserted island, and resenting each other's presence. Both Mac and Buck were possessive of Palmyra, and neither of them seemed to care that the island was privately owned and they had no permission to be there. One interesting incident was when a man visiting the island, Tom Wolfe, warned Mac that some rat poison had disappeared from an old bunker. Mac was so unconcerned that Wolfe wondered if it was Buck and Jennifer who had to worry. Mac also told Wolfe that he was tougher than Buck and he would take care of Buck if he tried anything.
Then there's Muff and Jennifer. Muff didn't want to be on Palmyra and she was miserable there, according to her own letters that she sent to family and friends. Mac didn't care, and his own sister Kit had chided him about not caring for Muff's feelings. Mac was having a blast on Palmyra, and Muff was descending into despair. Visitors to the island noticed she was unhappy, and that she was afraid of Buck. Muff even confided one night to Jennifer how she didn't want to be on Palmyra and she missed her nice life and her friends and family in San Diego. And Jennifer, the only reason she was on the island was because she loved Buck and wanted to be with him and she was having a hard time too. I always feel that it's a shame the women didn't take the Sea Wind and sail away to civilization and leave the men on Palmyra to duke it out.
And I also get the impression that, although no one will ever know what really happened, that Mac and Buck probably got in a fight and that's how Mac died. I can't help wondering if Mac didn't START the fight, since he was the one posturing to others on the island about how he could handle Buck. And then Buck went and killed Muff and that was that. I just have such a strong sense of sadness that these two women were involved with men who wanted to do their own thing and really didn't care about the feelings of the women who loved them.
Anyway, it's a great book, and Bugliosi's legal maneuverings make for fascinating reading. I find his thinking on Jennifer's innocence of the killings to be persuasive, particularly the part where he walks the jury through why the body of Muff Graham was found in the lagoon when it would have been so much better from the killer's standpoint to dump it far out to sea. Buck wasn't hiding the body from the authorities when he put it in the lagoon. He was hiding it from Jennifer.
One final note is that it's interesting Bugliosi's fish expert thought it was rare for a swordfish to attack a boat. Apparently it's actually not such a rare occurrence, as there are a number of museums with planks of large ships with swordfish bills stuck in them. Swordfish have attacked smaller boats, submarines, and even oil rigs. Reading about the incident in the book about the Sea Wind getting skewered by a swordfish got me interested to look up more information. That's the best thing about Vincent Bugliosi, how incredibly informative his books are, not just about crime but also other things.
The second half is a criminal trial procedural, which would be fine, if not for the fact that Bugliosi for some reason is representing a clearly guilty person, and basically helps this person beat the rap. It's funny, since Bugliosi wrote such a fine book on a group of sociopaths (Helter Skelter), and his determined effort to put as many of them as possible behind bars, and here, he helps acquit someone equally as sociopathic, and basically, equally as guilty. One gets the strong impression that had Bugliosi lead the prosecution rather than the defense, the accused would have been convicted. My personal opinion aside, the trial part of the book is written in the same style as the trial part of 'Helter Skelter'. I just wish Bugliosi had written the book from the prosecutor's vantage point rather than the defense in this case.
Even though this book is well written, this aspect of the account left an extremely sour taste in my mouth, and probably causes me to underrate it.