Books: The Curious Case of Seaman Garber

The Curious Case of Seaman Garber by B. K. Mayo is the story of 11-year-old Seth Roberson and the adventure he and his best friend Collin have during their summer school vacation.

The Curious Case of Seaman Garber by B.K. Mayo

The two boys are playing in an unused, closed-off forested area with a large shallow pond. As boys in summer vacations do, they built a raft, paddled out onto the pond and discovered a drowned corpse. The police and the boys’ parents are called and eventually it is revealed that the corpse is that of an elderly recluse, an ex-Vietnam War veteran, Henry Garber who lived alone in a cabin overlooking the pond. Seth is troubled that the police are unable to locate any of Garber’s family or friends and so he asks his father to accompany him to Garber’s funeral. Shortly afterwards, to everyone’s surprise, Seth is named the sole heir to Garber’s estate. Seth is insistent that he didn’t know Garber and they’d had just one, ironic conversation – Garber had warned him to be careful not to drown in the pond. Seth’s father recognises an old photo while they are clearing out the cabin. The photo shows Garber just before he left for Viet Nam, standing next to Seth’s grandmother. She reveals that Garber was her husband and so Seth’s grandfather. PTSD broke their marriage but some years later Garber moved back closer so he could watch his son, Seth’s father, growing up. The story concludes with an intriguing and heroic twist when a man from the Viet Nam Embassy visits Seth’s family home to reveal more of Garber’s time in Viet Nam.

This is a well-constructed plot that is paced well. The main characters are likeable and well-created and have interesting back stories. It is a compelling and thought-provoking story with a high degree of credibility/authenticity.

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