The Herbert Fuller, a three-masted sailing ship loaded with New England lumber, left Boston bound for Buenos Aires on July 8, 1896 with twelve people on board: captain and owner Charles Nash, his wife and childhood sweetheart Laura, two mates, the "mulatto" steward, six crewmen, and one passenger. Just before 2 A.M. on the sixth day at sea, the captain, his wife, and the second mate were slaughtered in their individual bunkrooms with the ship's axe, seven or eight blows apiece. Laura Nash was found with her thin nightgown pushed above her hips, her head and upper body smashed and deformed. Incredibly, no one saw or heard the killings . . . except the killer.
After a harrowing voyage back to port for the survivors, the killer among them, it didn't take long for Boston's legal system to convict the first mate, a naturalized American of mixed blood from St. Kitts. But another man on board, a twenty-year-old Harvard passenger from a proper family, had his own dark secrets. Who was the real killer, and what became of these two men?
Not a Gentleman's Work is the story of the fates of two vastly different men whose lives intersected briefly on one horrific voyage at sea -- a story that reverberates with universal themes: inescapable terror, coerced confession, capital punishment, justice obscured by privilege, perseverance, redemption, and death by tortured soul.