Nancy Oakes's Reviews > Murder on the Lusitania

Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen
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Mar 08, 08

bookshelves: mystery-series-first-novel, historical-crime-fiction, crime-fiction
Read in December, 2004

In the tradition of classic crime novels, Murder on the Lusitania has no end of suspects. Of course, the action happens on a ship and there are separate "classes" of decks in which the "lower" passengers (sadly, this is how they are referred to here) cannot move to the upper levels, so finding the killer isn't such a tough job.

First in a series of books about mayhem on board the maiden voyages of famous ships, the hero is George Porter Dillman, who goes first class on the voyage, and he can mingle with the best of them. He has dinner with the first-class passengers, drinks with them, gets caught up in their personal dramas, all the while actually doing his job....which is a secret detective of the famous Pinkerton agency. He is hired by the various cruise lines to prevent mayhem and crime, or at least to see to it that by the end of the voyage all is well. In this first installment, someone has stolen the ship's blueprints. While this may not seem earth shattering to us now, the author clearly explains how in 1907, when the "Lucy" as she is known was built, it was a time when Germany was building up her naval forces & the Lusitania was clearly not designed solely to carry passengers. In short, the Lusitania had been built as a secret antidote to the ships the Germans were building, just in case. And back then, there were rumors of wars everywhere. Anyway, George has to solve the mystery of the missing blueprints, and as he is doing so, there is a murder on the high seas. So now George has to solve that too, not to mention finding a missing Stradivarius belonging to an eccentric musician who is threatening to sue the Cunard line & make his plight public to cause the line great embarrassment.

Just good old fashioned mystery featuring members of the "upper crust" and an old-fashioned detective. The story itself isn't all that exciting, but it is fun & I like those "old" crimes.

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