Go to Homepage   Conrad Allen: Murder on the Minnesota


Crescent Blues Book ViewsSt. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover), ISBN: 0-312-28092-0
My idea of true luxury travel remains beyond reach, because for the most part, the time of flagrant luxury travel has passed. I want white table cloths and fanatically attendant staff. I want interesting travel companions and exotic locales. I want beautiful clothes (that make me look beautiful too) and gracefully elegant surroundings. With Murder on the Minnesota I get all that, and I don't even need to leave my house. Of course, you may argue that the fun of travel encompasses actually leaving the house. True, very true. I point out, though, that time and money considerations sometimes limit our dreams and we must chase them between the covers of a good book rather than out in the wide world.

Book: Conrad Allen, murder on the minnesotaConrad Allen provides us with just such an opportunity. Through his story we gain the ability to travel the high seas on a beautiful ship of the early 20th century. Our hero and heroine, shipboard detectives, began their adventures with Murder on the Lusitania and continued with Murder on the Mauretania. We join Genevieve Masefield, a lovely British lady, and George Dillman, an American and former actor, on the Minnesota, a passenger and freight ship which plies a course between Seattle, Japan and China. Slower than passenger-only liners, the Minnesota offers a more relaxed crossing with a thoroughly elegant atmosphere. But the freight the ship carries also makes it a target for smugglers. So George and Genevieve join the ship to ferret out the resident smuggler.

What should be an easy task turns complicated. To hide their true purpose the detectives pose as regular passengers. And despite the growing relationship between them, they must pretend not to know each other. Meeting secretly, they share tidbits of information, and we catch quick glimpses into their true feelings. They work the passengers separately and quickly form strong friendships with people they should be watching. Obviously, travel ranks as only one of the many and varied pursuits of these passengers.

Book: Conrad Allen, Murder on the lusitaniaThis nicely paced mystery kept me entertained and interested. I found myself wanting to know more about everyone on board -- not just George and Genevieve. Conrad draws his characters well and pulls the reader into their worlds. He matches actions to the time period -- people followed a more reserved path at a slower pace. His characters find solace simply sitting on the deck, reading a book, playing the piano.

As a romantic, though, I would have enjoyed a bit more insight into the relationship between George and Genevieve. More than simple co-workers, they harbor much deeper feelings. We do not discover, however, how they envision their future -- together or apart. Perhaps Allen wants us to read the next installment in the series to find out. How cheeky!


Heather Firth

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