Source: Bought from library book sale.
Book Description (my take):
Regan Reilly--the daughter of a successful mystery writer and a funeral home owner--is a successful P.I. While attending her class reunion in Oxford, England, the long-dead body of her former roommate is uncovered. The police question the classmates about the girl's disappearance from the school those many years ago.
Regan continues to work with the police detective, hoping to remember anything that might be a clue, but she has to do it from a transatlantic cruise ship. She's agreed to act as a companion to Lady Exner after her normal companion nearly dies from poisoning. The widow's a handful, but the real trouble lies with a passenger desperate to get something inside Lady Exner's lavish cabin and another who wants Regan and Lady Exner dead. Will the detective and Regan solve the case in time?
Decked is a humorous mystery novel. The mystery was a who-done it that kept me guessing until about the same time as the detective figured it out. Several people with different motives wanted to be in or near Lady Exner's cabin, which built the suspense as each tried to achieve their goal and as I wondered if any of them would mess up the others' plans. And, of course, there was the suspense of knowing someone was intending to kill Regan and Lady Exner--and they didn't realize it.
Some of the characters were a bit exaggerated to create humor, but the characters were varied and had realistic motives. The pacing was good, and the story never lost my interest. The world-building was very good, especially in portraying what traveling on a cruise ship would be like.
There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as enjoyable, fairly clean reading.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Friday, June 19, 1992
Gavin Gray hurried down the hallway, crashing into one handrail and then the other as he struggled to keep his balance. "If I weren't on a ship, I'd think I was drunk," he mumbled. But he didn't care. His adrenaline was pumping so much he felt light-headed. Another reason to bounce off the walls.
The ocean liner he was sailing on, a magnificent floating city, had hit rocky seas tonight. It would be another day and a half before they docked in Southampton, England. Not soon enough, he thought as he lunged his way to the safety of his cabin. He couldn't wait to see land again, and the weather they'd experienced during this crossing had nothing to do with it.
He had already spent enough time on this mammoth vessel playing host to a bunch of old broads. "Let them find someone else to make an idiot out of himself doing the cha-cha. No more black and blue marks for me," he cackled under his breath.
On these long transatlantic crossings, there was always an abundance of unescorted females. Hoping to help even the odds, the cruise line had hired him as a sixty-two-year-old host--a roving companion who would be only too willing to whisk them off onto the dance floor and suffer the brutality of their aimless kicks.
Just this morning he had been teaching the polka to an enthusiastic octogenarian wearing black bulky shoes. They were like gunboats hinged on her thick ankles, targeted for his luckless feet. Gavin winced when he thought of it. Stomping on someone's foot was supposed to be a form of self-defense, not a recreational activity.