Monday, March 6, 2017

Murder on the Oceanic by Conrad Allen


Murder on the Oceanic by Conrad Allen (Minotaur, 2006)

Set sail on board the Oceanic, and join the ship's two detectives, Englishwoman Genevieve Masefield and American George Porter Dillman, on their latest adventure on the high seas. Posing as single passengers who are traveling separately in order to work more effectively as a covert team of sleuths aboard the luxurious ocean liner - although Masefield and Dillman are happily married - the sophisticated pair is sailing from Southampton, England, to New York City in the spring of 1910.

The Oceanic is also carrying a colorful assortment of passengers and crewmembers. An important short list from among the thousands of passengers includes the following: The elegantly attired and rather naïve Blanche Charlbury and her protective fiancé, Mark Bossingham; the unprincipled womanizer, Jonathan Killick; the lackluster couple from New York City, Ethan and Rosalie Boyd; and the controversial Welsh artist, painter of provocative nudes, Abednego Thomas who is traveling with his intriguing wife, Veronica, and his voluptuous model, Dominique Cadine. Several of the more significant crew members are also worth noting: the conscientious purser Lester Hembrow, and three colorful and resourceful ship's stewards, Edith Hurst, Manny Ellway, and Sidney Browne. Finally - by the way - the Oceanic is carrying one other rather noteworthy passenger: the internationally famous financier and business tycoon, J. P. Morgan.

As Masefield and Dillman quickly realize, the infamous Morgan is going to become the center of a dangerous maelstrom through which the Oceanic and the detectives must navigate. With an impressive treasure trove of valuable objets d'art in his stateroom, the arrogant and fractious Morgan remains indifferent to the ship's detectives' concerns about the security of his property; ignoring Masefield's and Dillman's advice, Morgan is determined to rely exclusively upon his own security specialist, Howard Riedel, a former New York City cop with a very unpleasant personality.

However, when some passengers' jewels and personal property are stolen, when items worth more than half a million dollars are stolen from Morgan, and when someone is found to have been brutally murdered in someone's stateroom, Masefield and Dillman find themselves embroiled in one of their most difficult and dangerous cases.

This enjoyable romp - recommended reading for anyone who takes pleasure in good old fashioned escapist mysteries - is Conrad Allen's seventh mystery featuring the elegant and charming duo of Masefield and Dillman. All of Allen's entertaining tales are set aboard some of the most famous luxury liners of the early twentieth century, and Murder on the Oceanic - like its predecessors - is undeniably enjoyable.




13 comments:

  1. Oh, Tim, this dose sound like a solid, traditional-style mystery. And an ocean liner is a great context for this sort of story, isn't it? Glad you highlighted it.

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    1. Margot, I'm now wondering: what other shipboard crime novels are out there?

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    2. There are a lot of them, Tim. If I may offer this post I did that's related to the topic. And here is a sort of related post I did on fishing boats and ships in the genre. There are lots of others, too, but don't want to overload your comments section.

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    3. Sorry, Tim,
      here is one more. Now I'll leave you in peace.

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    4. Thanks, Margot. I can never have too many links to explore!

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  2. I have never heard of this author before. I must trot over to Amazon and Goodreads now. Not to buy, of course (book buying fast see my last post) but to read more about his stories. Thanks for alerting me to someone new.

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    1. Wow. The reviews are really mixed on this book. People love it or hate it. Which makes the book all the more intriguing.

      I think that having a murder mystery in limited space (as on a train, boat or plane) increases the suspense because you know someone there did it and everyone else is vulnerable.

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    2. Sharon, the Amazon reviews are almost always all over the place. I try to find blogggers and reviewers I trust for building my TBR list. Bloggers help me especially because of the discussions.

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    3. boy, there's always something new under the sun, seemingly... never heard of this guy/author but the book sounds pretty good; i'll check it out at the library... tx...

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    4. Mudpuddle, may you enjoy the cruise, fair winds, and following seas.

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    5. Tim: I hear you. I don't care what stars they give so long as they can give good reasons as to why they liked or disliked it.

      Hyperbole (LOVE, LOVE, LOVED IT! BEST BOOK I EVER READ IN MY WHOLE LIFE!!!! or HATE, HATE, HATED IT! WORST BOOK I EVER READ IN MY WHOLE LIFE!) doesn't serve as a credible review as far as I'm concerned.

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  3. This sounds like a lot of fun.

    Be it in the form of a mystery, a character study, or any one of many genres, throwing together people in a limited space such as a cruise ship, can yield such good fiction.

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    1. The "locked room" formula has been a favorite in the genre, Brian. The confines of a ship at sea -- which I know too well -- are perfect for the formula.

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