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A spoof of Nick and Nora Charles, with a komondor standing in for Asta and enough martinis to pickle all three livers.

When Magglio Cruz begrudgingly compensates graphics designer Renie Jones with a stateroom for the inaugural cruise of the San Rafael, his premier liner, Renie invites her cousin Judith Flynn (Hocus Croakus, 2003, etc.) to come along. They arrive in San Francisco just in time for the VIP pre-launch party. Unfortunately, the entertainment is curtailed when the host is found sopping wet, stabbed to death, inside the piano. In short order, Dixie, the cruise director, is poisoned and Emile, the purser, is strangled. What’s more, that snobbish dowager, Mrs. Giddon, has her jewels heisted, and the cousins confront a plethora of suspects: a dim ingenue, her impecunious suitor, a blond with cleavage, a nervous secretary, a pompous lawyer, a mystery man named Blackie and a couple of swell sophisticates, Rick and Rhoda St. George, who behave like Nick and Nora on a bender. Naturally, the St. Georges and the cousins compare theories, the cousins are framed for the jewel heist and they wind up held at gunpoint even though they’re innocent. With a nudge or two from Rick, Rhoda and the komondor, they ultimately reveal all.

Sure, it’s silly, and the outcome passes belief, but there are moments when the St. Georges’ patter and wardrobe and love of martinis are absolutely intoxicating.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-056648-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2005


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