Welcome to my stop on the Bookouture blog tour for Death on Deck! Who’s ready to go on another adventure with Lady Eleanor and Clifford?
Book: Death on Deck
Author: Verity Bright
Pub Day: March 13, 2023
Buy on Amazon
When Lady Swift embarks upon her first luxury cruise she imagines a gilded ballroom, afternoons on deck taking tea and all the delectable food she can eat. But she can’t seem to escape from murder…
Lady Eleanor Swift is all set to spend her birthday with her beau, dashing Detective Hugh Seldon, until he calls to cancel on her again at the last minute. What’s a girl to do? Pack up her staff and her faithful old bulldog, Gladstone, and head off on a cruise to New York, that’s what!
On the stunningly opulent ocean liner Celestiana, Eleanor tries to forget her worries and make the most of her trip. That is, until she sees a man being shot and falling overboard. On closer inspection of the scene, Eleanor literally stumbles over the likely murder weapon. And the nick in the barrel is unmistakable: this gun belongs to Detective Seldon…
With some discreet digging, Clifford discovers Detective Seldon is aboard the ship on an undercover mission. Eleanor doesn’t want to make waves but she’s sure that something fishy is going on and he’s being framed. To get Seldon off the hook, Eleanor casts her net wide and searches for the real murderer among a sea of suspects including European nobility, Italian opera stars and American nouveau riche. But does the victim’s expensive gold ring point to a lavish lifestyle or is it a red herring?
When another passenger is found dead in his first-class cabin, a poisoned whisky glass clutched in his hand, Eleanor realises they are really in hot water. Will the killer be Eleanor’s catch of the day, or will she spend her birthday at the bottom of the sea?
A totally charming, unputdownable Golden Age mystery with characters readers will adore. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Lee Strauss.
Another positively charming read from Verity Bright! I loved it, as always. The end.
Hahahaha, no. Y’all know I couldn’t stop with just one line, right?
I simply adore Lady Eleanor Swift. She’s never been accused of being a proper lady, and I don’t think she ever will be. I think Clifford is finally making his peace with that (and honestly, I think he’d be a little disappointed if she did decide to settle down and behave as befits her station in society).
Here we see Eleanor’s expectation of a birthday celebration with Hugh dashed when he cancels their plans on her at the last minute. Never one to stay down for long, Eleanor decides to take advantage of an offer to go on a transatlantic cruise to New York. Naturally, Clifford and Gladstone the bulldog come along, and Eleanor brings all of her staff, too! I cannot tell y’all how much I love that she values “the ladies” enough to know that they would appreciate a cruise and to make it happen for them. They may not stay in first class with Eleanor, but they do have a grand old time.
Eleanor soon finds herself embroiled in a mystery after she observes two men arguing and sees one throw the other off the ship after shooting him. She manages to find the murder weapon, and when she recognizes it, she knows she can’t turn it over. She also learns that the gun’s owner, none other than Hugh, is on board the ship for reasons of his own, and that’s why he’d bailed on her birthday celebration.
As her first-class status may allow her to have conversations that the ship’s staff cannot, the captain asks her to assist in the investigation. The ship’s master-at-arms is visibly unhappy about Eleanor’s involvement and does his best to make it difficult for her. What does he have to hide?
The cruise setting adds an element of tension to the story. The mystery has to be solved before they dock in New York, or Hugh may find himself in serious trouble with the law. Swift gives us suspects aplenty and lays out one red herring after another as we follow the clues along with Eleanor. Throw in a storm that puts the Celestiana in grave danger, and you’ve got a story where the pages practically turn themselves!
When the birthday celebration was called off, I feared this would be another book without Hugh. I was delighted to see that wasn’t the case! We learn more about Hugh’s backstory here, and he and Eleanor seem to be slowly, slowly learning to open up and trust each other, even with the hard things. There were a few moments when I wondered if their relationship would survive, but so far, it has. I hope we see them growing even closer in the next book.
And the previously mentioned ladies! They are just so much fun. The trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them, and they make the most of it. They’re also able to help in the investigation, as they can see things on the lower decks that Eleanor really couldn’t poke her nose into.
Witty dialogue, characters you love (or love to hate), fascinating descriptions of a cruise on a luxury liner, a mystery that keeps you guessing – Death on Deck is another winner from Verity Bright!
About the author:
Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s.
Find them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BrightVerity.