Insufferably smart NYPD Captain Bill Donovan and his crack-shot wife Marcie are none too happy to be dragooned into representing the city at a fundraiser for Compassionate Conservative presidential candidate Peter Bennett aboard the Trinidad Princess. They perk up, however, when they realize the Sevastopol Trader, skippered by their old pal Dennis Yeager, is tied up to the other side, and fancy models are cavorting on its deck. Their suggestion that Bennett’s aide Rob Ingram join them there later, though, turns out to be ill-considered, since Rob is murdered in the predawn, post-party hours, setting in motion an old-fashioned whodunit. Among the shipboard suspects were a model whose affair with Rob ended with her hospitalized; a coke-sniffing model-agency head on the verge of bankruptcy; a pretty boy with a family trauma to deal with and a West Virginia accent to shed; a derelict who’s partial to Chinese takeout; and Yeager and a pal who’d been taking water samples to prove the Trinidad Princess was engaged in toxic dumping. Marcie employs her martial arts expertise; Donovan deduces with all the hubris associated with Golden Age Great Detectives; the tides come in, the tides go out; and eventually brawny Detective Sergeant Moskowitz readies the handcuffs, leaving the harbor safe for all the tourists visiting the West Side Pier’s main attraction, the Intrepid, now a watery museum.
Jahn (Murder in Central Park, 2000, etc.) sited ship, sank plot.