After being in France for nearly two months, Fen Churche is excited to be heading home to England. With the aristocratic Captain James Lancaster in tow, she travels to the port of Le Havre to board the De Grasse, which will take them to Southhampton before heading on to New York.
The passengers are a mixed bunch of returning Allied servicemen and civilians. Amongst them are Genie, an aspiring actress; her fiancé, Spencer, a popular US radio entertainer; the wealthy and formidable Mrs. Mariella Archer; and Eloise, her niece. Fen and James become part of this group.
When James confesses that he's not ready to go home and has decided to carry on to New York with their new friends, Fen is surprised and disappointed. Although Fen is looking forward to seeing her parents and friends, an offer from Mrs. Archer persuades Fen to also remain with the ship.
It's not long before the peaceful voyage is disrupted. Mrs. Archer's jewels are stolen. While searching for them, Fen discovers a body in one of the lifeboats and when Genie is found strangled, Fen now has three crimes to solve. She does this in the way she solves the cryptic crossword puzzles she so enjoys.
Just like the other books in the series, I was thoroughly entertained by Fen's sleuthing adventures and the camaraderie that she shares with James. Their banter is witty and amusing, especially when the phrase "how rude" is thrown into the conversation. It always results in a giggle or two at an inappropriate moment. This time around the story is also peppered with lots of raised eyebrows and winking, which also adds to the fun.
While this is a cozy mystery, it does touch on some serious aspects of the aftermath of the war: how Germans were viewed and the grab for their scientific and technological research.
As to the solving of the jewel theft and the murders, I had no idea who was responsible. The reveal came as a big surprise, but was totally credible.
This is a wonderful mystery series. I'm looking forward to the next instalment.
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a participant in a book blog tour.