MURDER ON THE MARMORA

Conrad Allen, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-30791-2

The Marmora , a small luxury ocean liner en route from England to Australia via Cairo in 1908, serves as the venue for Allen's fifth lighthearted historical (after 2003's Murder on the Caronia ) to feature private detectives George Porter Dillman and Genevieve Masefield. The sleuthing pair are acting as unofficial bodyguards to the Duke and Duchess of Fife and their children, but they also have reason to keep an eye on a slew of other first-class passengers, including a noted Egyptologist traveling with his musical daughter and a strongbox of artifacts, an urbane investor in a Cairo hotel project, an attractive American widow and her sulky daughter and a boastful French chef with constant complaints about the food. A series of jewel and antiques thefts, as well as a ghastly murder that the ship's authorities take great care to cover up, propels the plot at a stately pace. To complicate matters, Genevieve to her horror sees her former lover on board with his new bride. The happily-ever-after ending and the picture of gracious living during an era when security was of relatively little concern should please mystery readers seeking purely escapist fare. (Jan. 21)

Reviewed on: 12/01/2003
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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