Genre: Historical Mystery Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 4 stars Series: standalone
November 1924. The Endeavour sets sail to New York with 2,000 passengers – and a killer – on board.
When an elderly gentleman is found dead at the foot of a staircase, ship’s officer Timothy Birch is ready to declare it a tragic accident. But James Temple, a strong-minded Scotland Yard inspector, is certain there is more to this misfortune than meets the eye.
Birch agrees to investigate, and the trail quickly leads to the theft of a priceless painting. Its very existence is known only to its owner . . . and the now dead man.
With just days remaining until they reach New York, and even Temple’s purpose on board the Endeavour proving increasingly suspicious, Birch’s search for the culprit is fraught with danger.
And all the while, the passengers continue to roam the ship with a killer in their midst.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
A FATAL CROSSING is an engaging locked-in murder mystery with an unlikely detective duo, a murdered man, and a ship full of people who aren’t as they seem.
This was the October pick for my book club, and the theme this month was “cosy mystery.” I absolutely do think that, though it deals with gangs and the art world, it’s what I would call “cosy.” You know the villain will be found at the end and it never gets too dark. It’s just relentlessly readable with being disturbing.
At no point when reading did I have a suspicion over who the murderer was. There was such a range of characters with shifty backgrounds and those who seemed OK that none stood out as being shiftier than the rest. Also there was a feeling that some of the clues weren’t out yet and the rest were just too subtly included to pick up on them.
I don’t mind that if the finale picks out the clues I missed. If the finale includes lots of key info I never got, then I don’t like it, but that didn’t happen here. The fact that I didn’t ever even guessed just made me feel like it was really well set up.
There’s also a secondary/underlying mystery about Temple’s work and past. He’s so reticent about it all, and himself. You want to feel back the layers of this man and understand him (plus work out why certain people are alarming him!) You want the two men, who do not get on, to crack and be pal-y, get that reward of opening up the great detective who is abrupt and rude at times.
The ending was so good, very unexpected but I loved it. Plays into the secondaries very well. It was just a fun way of ending the mystery, adding another little zing.
There is another book coming by Tom Hindle soon(ish) and I will certainly be reading that.