Theft and murder mar yet another transatlantic voyage.
Ship’s detectives George Porter Dillman and his wife Genevieve Masefield (Murder on the Oceanic, Feb. 2006, etc.) anticipate a quiet trip until the purser reports there may be a killer on board. The New York Police Department’s sketchy description of Edward Hammond is all they have to work with. Beautiful Genevieve soon acquires two swains: Frank Spurrier, proprietor of a well-known London auction house, and self-made Joshua Cleves. While Joshua dines with Genevieve and elderly English aristocrats, and Frank enjoys the company of honeymooners David and Jane Lowbury, George has to fend off the advances of tablemate Sophie Trouncer, a devotee of mediums. Also aboard are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife, whose annotated copy of A Study in Scarlet is stolen while they attend a séance. It’s just the first of a rash of thefts. The mystery deepens when David Lowbury vanishes and a complete search of the Celtic discloses only his coat, hidden in a lifeboat. Refused entry by immigration authorities, some steerage passengers have been sleeping on deck, and George hopes one of them has seen the murderer. George and Genevieve’s activities trolling the ship for clues nearly make George the next victim of a clever murderer.
A particularly neat mystery makes this retro puzzler one of Allen’s strongest.