Cruising for Murder By Susan Sussman and Sarajane Avidon

This was a fun little book with a bit of a letdown at the end. There are some nice tense moments toward the climax but again a little abrupt to finish. Ms. Morgan Taylor nee Mimi is a Broadway actress/dancer and her run with Rent is about to finish. She opts to not travel with the show and is once again faced with working small jobs to make ends meet whilst waiting for her next big break. This next job comes surprisingly quickly but it is not without its troubles. Morgan has worked cruise ships before just not filled in for someone who died unexpectedly. There is some uncertainty as to how the previous entertainer died with some on board thinking foul play but Morgan jumps in with both feet, as it were. Obviously as this is a mystery, there are other events including another death of which there is no question as it is definitely murder.

The victim is Morgan’s roommate and a nasty piece of work who doesn’t get along with anyone. There is no love lost between her and the rest of the cast and crew and yet no one would actually wish her dead, would they? You have to add to the mix an uncle of Morgan’s who shows up on the boat without his wife of over 40 years. He is behaving as if he were 20 years younger and his personality seems to have changed completely. He avoids Morgan’s questions about her aunt and seems to be carrying on with another woman. She is nice but that is certainly not the point. Another factor is Ms. Taylor’s longtime boyfriend is a Chicago cop. She cannot help being nosey to the point of danger and see things in a very different light from most of the others. The cast just wants to get their jobs done and go play on the beaches during the day. The police officer on board the ship knows her beau and warns her off not only for her own safety but for his. If the cop finds out she is mixed up in a murder inquiry he will have to pay dearly if anything happens to her.

Morgan is a likeable character who just can’t help herself when it comes to trying to figure out what is happening. Even with a foot injury she ploughs on when you know the end result can’t be good. This is a fun read, definitely if you are on holiday wanting an easy read especially if you are cruising. There are many activities mentioned in the body of the book that would make you LOL if they were going on in front of you – e.g. talent competitions, country and western dancing or singing shows!

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