The Pleasure Cruise Mystery by Robin Forsythe

Pleasure CruiseAlgernon Vereker, artist and some-time detective, is having a sulk about not being appreciated artistically, so his friend Manuel Ricardo persuades him to join him on a pleasure cruise about the Mars – not at all influenced by the fact that Vereker will be paying for both of them.

Even after embarking, Vereker is still less than enthused, but he decides to play detective to find out more about his neighbours – Mr and Mrs Colvin – on the ship, especially from conversations he hears through the wall in the night. But things take a dark turn when Ricardo trips over the body of Mrs Colvin’s sister Beryl. Where has her necklace disappeared to? Why was she wearing the wrong gloves over her mysteriously lacerated hands? And was it natural causes? Probably not…

After Missing Or Murdered?, I’ve jumped to Book Three in the Vereker series to fit in with #1933book on Crimes Of The Century over at Past Offences, and I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed with this one. And it’s mostly Ricardo’s fault.

As is often the case with a crime where only the sleuth suspects murder, the first half of the book is very talky. It was similar in Missing Or Murdered, but Vereker (who can be verbose at times) was talking to the more sensible Inspector Heather, which balanced things out. In fact, the “who solves the crime first” aspect of that tale was a real highlight. Here, he’s talking to Ricardo who a) doesn’t really care about the murder, his primary goal seems to be to seduce any woman possible, and b) is even worse than Vereker at using twenty words when one would have done. Kate over at Cross Examining Crime enjoyed this aspect of the tale, but, being more of blunt instrument, it just kind of annoyed me.

The second half of the book, as Vereker leaves the boat in pursuit of leads, has some interesting bits and the final solution is rather complex and clever. It’s well worth a look, although I preferred the first book. But when I read the first book, the school where I teach wasn’t being inspected by the powers that be, so to be fair, this one didn’t have my full attention at times…

So, a bit verbose for my tastes, and more Inspector Heather would have been nice as a counter-point, but it’s a complex mystery that’s worth giving your attention to. Well Worth A Look.

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13 comments

  1. Thanks for the mention! This is my least favourite Forsythe novel actually. Having read them all now my favourite is The Spirit Murder Mystery, as Forsythe cuts down a lot of the Algernon theorising and Ricardo’s role is less irksome and troubling than it is in this one. Inspector Heather is also more present too and the narrative has a quicker pace. After that my second favourite would be The Polo Ground Mystery followed by The Ginger Cat Mystery, Missing or Murdered, ending with The Pleasure Cruise Mystery.

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  2. I was interested to see your take on this Robin Forsythe novel. Having bought all his reprints from DSP I started reading them at random (perhaps a mistake) and I’ve read this one first, followed by Missing or Murdered. In both, I’ve found Vereker incredibly irritating (and that’s by Lord Peter Wimsey standards!) and his precocious posings slow down the action so much that in both cases I found myself skipping to the end. By that time I didn’t care who did it, I just wanted to finish the book! I think it’s great that DSP are unearthing some obscure authors for modern readers to enjoy but in some cases it’s very clear why they slipped into obscurity. I will read the other Forsythes so I may change my mind, but at the moment: definitely not a keeper.

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