Crime-solving friends Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells encounter yet another murder victim while traveling from Paris to Istanbul on the famed Orient Express in 1935.
A jewel theft, a spy hunt, forged documents, a magician, a séance, and a locked-room murder—what more could the Detective Society (rising 14-year-old schoolmates Hazel and Daisy) hope for on a summer holiday? In this third of the Wells & Wong mysteries to be published in this country, Hazel chronicles how her father’s efforts to take their minds off crime backfires when one of their fellow first-class passengers is murdered, apparently by her jealous brother and possibly for her beautiful diamond-and-ruby necklace. And it’s not just Hazel’s father prohibiting their detective efforts—there is also a fellow traveler, the undercover detective Miss Livedon, whom they’ve encountered before. Disguised as the wife of a copper magnate, she’s really searching for a spy onboard. Stevens’ clever story has been constructed as a tribute to Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, published in 1934, just one year before Daisy and Hazel’s ride on that same train, and uses many similar elements. There’s solid suspense, humor, and food for thought: Hazel’s Hong Kong origins allow her to notice examples of racism, anti-Semitism, and class snobbery that white, upper-class Daisy doesn’t see.
Just as Daisy predicts, “the Detective Society’s most exciting adventure yet!” (train car diagram with characters, glossary, acknowledgements) (Mystery. 10-14)