Monday, October 5, 2015

Murder on the Minneapolis by Anita Davison

Opening Sentences: On Pier 39, well-wishers stood four deep beneath a sea of colourful hats wide as sailboats, waving handkerchiefs or crying into them. Beside the bottom of the gangplank, an enthusiastic conductor on a podium led a brass band in The Washington Post March. Porters strained behind trolleys while couples strolled the decks, issuing braying instructions for the disposition of their luggage.

Synopsis:  A cozy, Edwardian crime mystery, set aboard a luxurious steamship

Flora Maguire, a 22 year old governess, is on her way home on the S.S.Minneapolis to England from New York after the wedding of her employer’s daughter. Conscious of her status among a complement of only first class passengers on the ship’s maiden voyage, she avoids the dining room on the first night, and meets the charming Bunny Harrington on deck. Flora finds the body of a man at the bottom of a companionway, but when his death is pronounced an accident, she is not convinced, and, having experienced her own tragedy as a child in the form of her mother’s disappearance, is driven to find out the truth. Flora starts asking questions, but when she is threatened, followed by a near drowning during a storm and a second murder, the hunt is now on in earnest for a killer. Time is running out as the Minneapolis approaches the English coast. Will Flora be able to protect Edward, her charge, as well as herself, and discover who the murderer is? Is her burgeoning relationship with the handsome Bunny Harrington only a shipboard dalliance, or something more?

Review by Mirella Patzer / History and Women

As a long time admirer of author Anita Davison, I was happy to read Murder on the Minneapolis, an historical cozy mystery. Flora Maguire is a young governess charged with escorting her employer's young son, Edwqard, back home to England via the oceanliner, The Minneapolis. It is the ship's maiden voyage and most of the passengers are wealthy, except for Flora. Once on board, she meets Bunny Harrington, a well-to-do young businessman who deals with automobiles. When Flora discovers the body of a man at the foot of the companionway, she is embroiled in the mystery and is determined to find out what happened. 

This story had a bit of everything - atmosphere, mystery, romance, and suspense. I was kept guessing until the end as to the murderer and their motivation. Set on an oceanliner afloat in the international waters between North America and England, I found the story unique and intriguing. There were plenty of fascinating charaters that kept me interested throughout - a matronly ascerbic socialite, a steely doctor, and a headstrong captain, to name a few. All scenes were vividly described. The succinct writing made for a fast pace with plenty of conflict and mystery. From start to finish, I was thoroughly absorbed in the story. This is definitely a 5 star cozy mystery! Highly recommended. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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