A free Mother’s Day cruise to exotic Spanish and North African ports sounds like heaven—until murder, hijacking and a mother-in-law join the cruise.
El Paso–based food critic Carolyn Blue doesn’t let her husband’s refusal to opt out of his conference spoil her trip to heaven. Instead, she talks her friend, retired cop Luz Vallejo, into joining her, not knowing that her husband has asked his mother, a rampant feminist and no friend to Carolyn, to share her suite. Luz, whose bag has been lost, receives a new wardrobe and a lover in the form of the ship’s doctor. Carolyn revels in the delectable food prepared by executive chef Demetrios Kostas el Greco. And her mother-in-law takes time out from accusing Carolyn of getting too friendly with a Welsh author to start her own affair with a retired naval officer. Meanwhile, several crew members plot to hold the ship for ransom. Then an obnoxious passenger disappears after a shore visit, and Carolyn feels the need to investigate. When the hijacking is pulled off, Carolyn barely escapes from one of the pirates. She hides out in disguise in the Welshman’s cabin until she and some resourceful fellow passengers take back the ship with a little help from some spiked avocado soup.
Whiny Carolyn (Three-Course Murder, not reviewed, etc.) is consistently upstaged by her acerbic friend Luz and the tidbits of cooking lore and dessert recipes.