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Murder on the Minneapolis
Anita Davison

Buried River Press (Robert Hale)
30 June 2015/ ISBN 9781910208267

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Governess Flora Maguire is sailing home to England with her young charge Edward on the Minneapolis. Nervous at being on a ship with only first class, she stays in her cabin, but when she finds a body on deck she is not content with it being regarded as an accident. There is something suspicious about this death and she is keen to get to the bottom of it; she couldn’t prevent the early death of her mother, but maybe she can find justice for this victim. Befriended by motor enthusiast Bunny Harrington, she soon sees him as more than a fellow sleuth, but surely the last thing she needs is a dalliance with a gentleman?

This is hopefully the first entry in a new series, and it has all the elements of a good mystery. The setting of a luxury ship mimics the closed setting of a country house, and if you enjoy reading classic era whodunits such as Agatha Christie, then this ought to appeal. Flora makes a sympathetic heroine, keen to indulge in a spot of sleuthing and have as enjoyable a time as possible despite her servant status. There is an element of romance, but this never holds up the action and adds to the interest, as does the attention to period detail. Set during the 1900s, the author conjures up a time when people were bound by their station in life, but at the same time a new century with new possibilities. Bunny’s motor car is a metaphor for this, symbolizing change, progress, and chances denied to earlier generations, just as cantankerous Mrs. Penry-Jones stands for the past. There is teasing plot, all of which is difficult to guess with more than one victim, red herrings galore, and pressure on the sleuths to discover whodunit before their eight days at sea are up. Ms. Davison has also created a diverse group of characters, all of which seem to have something to hide, and I was sorry when I had turned the last page. I hope we will be seeing more of Flora.

Reviewed 2015