A Brooklyn travel agent headed Down Under to learn what’s happened to her ex-husband's parents finds that the friend who accompanied her has been murdered at sea aboard a ship full of suspects.
Even though their divorce is comfortably remote in her rearview mirror, Cyd Redondo can’t refuse when her ex, Barry Manzoni, begs for help finding his missing parents. Sandra and Fredo left their home to go on a cruise on the Tasmanian Dream, and now Barry’s repeated calls to their cellphones are going unanswered. Given the connections Cyd has through her agency, Redondo Travel, she’s the natural sleuth for this mission, and she calls her cruise connection and friend Harriet Archer to make arrangements for the two of them to investigate aboard the ship and maybe enjoy a few days of vacation themselves. After an adventurous air-drop onto the ship, Cyd prepares to get down to business only to find that Harriet’s been murdered in her cabin. Now the stakes are much higher for Cyd, who can’t let her late friend down. Aided by her well-tipped cabin steward, Jeff “Koozer” Koeze, and her new friend Dr. Mathis, who’s simultaneously the ship’s doctor and a trained veterinarian, Cyd investigates Harriet’s death while the ship’s other employees try to gaslight her into thinking the murder was some sort of accident. And that’s not the only trouble Cyd takes on. She realizes that her former schoolteacher Sister Ellery Magdalene Malcomb, who’s also aboard, is about to get taken advantage of by, and even married to, one of the gigolos unofficially employed by the cruise line. Add a return from former nemesis Grey Hazelnut (Lost Luggage, 2017), an endangered marsupial, and a stowaway in the ship’s morgue, and that covers maybe half the complications that await Cyd.
The fingering of the fiend is forgettable, lost in the sea plots and subplots, though its drowning appears to be entirely intentional.