Not a Gentleman’s Work The Untold Story of a Gruesome Murder at Sea and the Long Road to Truth By Gerard Koeppel
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In Not a Gentleman’s Work: The Untold Story of a Gruesome Murder at Sea and the Long Road to Truth, Gerard Koeppel combines history with true crime, revealing long-buried evidence from the most notorious murder in American nautical history.

The book chronicles an incident that took place aboard the Herbert Fuller, a three-masted vessel loaded with New England lumber and headed for Buenos Aires. The ship left Boston on July 8, 1896 with twelve people. By 2:00 a.m. on the sixth day at sea, three of them were dead: captain/owner Charles Nash, his wife Laura, and the second mate. All were slaughtered in their individual bunkrooms with the ship’s axe, but no one saw or heard the murders. With the killer among them, the survivors embarked on a harrowing voyage back to port.

Upon the Herbert Fuller’s return to Boston, prosecutors charged—and a jury convicted—the first mate, Thomas Bram, a naturalized American of mixed blood from St. Kitts; he was sentenced to death. But another man on board, the sole passenger, Lester Monks, a twenty-year-old Harvard drop-out from a proper Boston family, had his own dark secrets. This book tells the fates of these two vastly different men whose lives intersected briefly but indelibly.


Gerard Koeppel is the author of Water for Gotham, Bond of Union, and City on a Grid. He has contributed to numerous other books, including the Encyclopedia of New York City for which he served as an associate editor. An editor for many years at CBS News, he lives in New York City.

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