MAIDEN VOYAGE by Graham Masterton
Kirkus Star


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Masterton, infectious British chronicler of bygone beady-eyed industrialists and greedy adventurers (Rich, Solitaire), may find a wider American audience this time--as he surrounds a light frame of wheels-and-deals with a glamorous shipload of eccentrics, money men, and sexual whoopla aboard one of the 1920's great transatlantic luxury liners. Gorgeous flapper Catriona Keys, 23, daughter of a just-deceased British shipping magnate, is nudged by Keys' agent Edgar Deacon to sail on the London/N.Y. maiden voyage of the Keys' brand new Arcadia--a 960-foot wonder, gleaming with American celebs (Fairbanks, Pickford, Dempsey), jeweled English toffs, and individually theme-decorated First Class cabins. So Catriona will use the voyage to decide which of two hungry buyers to sell the Arcadia to. Will it be gross George Welterman, working for a US firm in Britain and secretly aided by Deacon? Or will it be handsome US millionaire Mark Beeney, assisted by mysterious Englishman Philip Carter-Helm? While Catriona ponders, the ship is alive with intrigue, of course: the captain, Sir Peregrine, is the ""biggest drunk on the seven seas""; his jealous First Mate is Rudyard Philips, whose noisy lover is opera singer Louise; the Third Officer, stuttering Dick Charles, is also lassoed into extraordinary sexual performance--by abandoned Lady Diana; a Polish Baroness in First Class has her gigolo; a hard-working professional gambler from Smackover, Arkansas, books an eating contest; Mark's girl Marcia jumps overboard; and there's a canny crew of shipboard domestics, including a purser busy sawing off toilet seats of the great to sell in New York. But, in Third Class, anarchist Harry Pakenow is planning to plant 30 sticks of dynamite in the hold. And the two deaths that ensue are somehow eclipsed by the sea of iced Polish vodka--while a mystery man unmasks, secrets are exploded, there's a violent rape, and true love emerges for Catriona. . . as Sir Peregrine slams into New York harbor at seven knots, fireboats alongside. Familiar sailing but indisputably entertaining--with spiffy chat, mucho naughtiness, and sybaritic delights slathered on like peanut butter.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's