The Mauretania has barely set sail from Liverpool to America on a cool November evening in 1907 when a first-class passenger is tipping a silver salt cellar and a silver pepper pot into his pocket, a couple travelling second-class lose a silver snuffbox and a purse, and a pair of Welshmen in steerage are making plans to lift a few of the gold bullion bars stored in the hold, then claim a reward for “finding” them. In this variation of the locked-room mystery (the locked Liner mystery?), George Porter Dillman and Genevieve Masefield, the Cunard’s security team who are traveling incognito as shipboard voyagers, have five days until the ship docks to sort through the skullduggery. Unfortunately, more bad news develops: A passenger is missing; the ship’s mascot, Bobo the cat, cannot be found; intimidating notes are being thrust under Genevieve’s stateroom door; a “husband” is procuring for his luscious wife; stolen swag has been secreted in an unsuspecting widow’s hatbox; and tools and a trolley have been swiped from the kitchens. Furthermore, possible suspects keep getting up from the dinner tables and wandering the hallways, stopping only long enough to stare at Genevieve longingly or grope her knee. Still, the sleuthing duo manage to set matters right before the Mauretania’s inaugural sailing ends, and even have time left over for a quick cuddle themselves.
Just as many nice descriptions of the ship as in Murder on the Lusitania (1999), but also just as many silly people airing their snobberies and flaunting their jewelry.