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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mystery at Sea

Has anyone worked on a cruise ship?

So asked author Linda Collison (Barbardos Bound)  

Yes, said I.

I do, for part of the year -- but it's not novel material More like a TV series.    The closest to a cruise ship novel I have read is Gwyn Griffin's "Shipmaster" -- highly recommended, but no advertisement for cruising.
Then author (Hell Around the Horn) and blogger (OldSaltBlog) Richard Spilman entered the conversation.
I think that a mystery writer could do a fantastic series of books on cruise ships with an insurance investigator as the designated detective. You have exotic locales, muddled legal jurisdictions, affluent vacationers, too much alcohol, sexual imbroglio, easy disposal of bodies, as well as multi-national and often underpaid crews. The crimes could range from simple disappearances, to drug smuggling, to sexual assault, to modern slavery. With all the tacky glitz of Las Vegas or Paradise Island, you could add in storms at sea, mechanical failures, fires, flooding, grounding and even the norovirus.

I am not a big reader of mysteries (he went on) and I generally am not overly fond of cruise ships so I suspect that I would have a hard time maintaining my enthusiasm, but I think that there is potential for the right writer or writers.
So that is when I made my Announcement.
  • Talking of mysteries set at sea, I have almost finished the fifth Wiki Coffin adventure. So I was interested in Rick's list of pluses. Instead of an insurance investigator, I have a sheriff's deputy with a Letter of Authority from Virginia. The exotic locales are definitely there (the setting of the fifth is Cape Horn), and definitely the muddled legal jurisdictions (the legal beagles on various shores are confused enough by Wiki's Letter of Authority to accept it), and certainly too much alcohol. And we all know about Wiki's weakness for women. But those affluent vacationers are absent, sadly. All I have is a bunch of naturalists and geologists, plus one Maori circus actor (not Wiki!) who is heading home. And, as for that last comment about how much the reader can take about cruise ships, sadly true. Keeping the reader engaged in the story of the Great United States Exploring Expedition, is a challenge, to say the very least.

  • What do you think?  A modern series featuring murders on a cruise ship, or historical mysteries featuring an exotic Maori-Yankee detective?

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