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The Widow's Cruise (Nigel Strangeways, #13)
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Nicholas Blake buddy reads > The Widow's Cruise - SPOILER Thread

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Susan | 10008 comments Mod
Welcome to the 13th Nigel Strangeways mystery, published in 1959.

Renowned sculptor, Clare Massinger, is in a bit of a creative slump. To provide a little inspiration, Nigel Strangeways books them a relaxing cruise on the Aegean Sea. Filled with Greek temples, swimming pools, and sandy beaches, this scenic vacation should be the perfect getaway. But when they meet the other passengers, Nigel and Clare realize the cruise may not be as peaceful as planned.

It seems everyone knows everyone else’s business: a schoolteacher recovering from a nervous breakdown is confronted by a former student; a scholar is embarrassed by a scornful reviewer; a seductive temptress is known to a Bishop, and, to top it off, two busybodies are keeping tabs on everyone.

As the passengers' lives become increasingly intertwined, it seems a plot for revenge may be afloat. Amidst steamy assignations, false accusations, and suicide threats, Nigel’s holiday doesn’t last long, and he must take charge to uncover the truth before the passengers have something more bloody to gossip about…

Please fee free to post spoilers in this thread.


Susan | 10008 comments Mod
I have finished this now and really enjoyed it. I think that Blake/Day-Lewis had a second wind with his later books - a little like Ngaio Marsh. Will be sad to get to the end of this series.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8932 comments Mod
I've finished this now and enjoyed it a lot too - there were more twists at the end than I was expecting! I thought that Melissa would be the killer because of the "widow's cruise" title, but no.

I do find the disguise working so well rather unlikely, as the two sisters aren't identical twins and I had the impression Melissa was slimmer than Ianthe - but it was very clever.


Pamela (bibliohound) | 362 comments I enjoyed this too, although I'm not sure I believed it. As Judy said, the sisters were similar but not identical, though the heavy makeup probably helped. I also found it strange that someone playing a part so carefully would lose control with Primrose, rather than planning something more subtle.

I still miss Georgia, Clare is a bit too supercilious for my liking. And Blake hasn't completely put his misogyny aside, referring to Melissa as a whore was rather harsh! Still, this was good fun and I agree Blake is back to the quality of his earlier mysteries.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8932 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "And Blake hasn't completely put his misogyny aside, referring to Melissa as a whore was rather harsh!..."

Yes, this line brought me up short too!


Susan | 10008 comments Mod
I wondered whether it had slightly different connotations then - but then decided that, probably, it didn't.

Talking of non-PC language, do you think that such words should be changed in new editions, or does the reader just accept that was acceptable 'then'?


Pamela (bibliohound) | 362 comments Susan wrote: "Talking of non-PC language, do you think that such words should be changed in new editions, or does the reader just accept that was acceptable 'then'?"

Personally I would always prefer the text to be left as the author originally wrote it. It is then up to the reader to decide whether or not this makes a difference to their view of the work.


Susan | 10008 comments Mod
I would also agree with that. My daughter has read some books, though, which were changed slightly and I can see how that makes older authors more accessible. I remember she read The Enchanted Wood and they had changed 'Fanny' to 'Frannie' for example.


Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 757 comments The problem would be deciding which words are 'problematic' and which are artistically required (see Huckleberry Finn). And then, do you change words that are problematic because they are not easily understood by the new generation of readers?

I am not sure how changing the name of the heroine of Mansfield Park would make a book more accessible.


message 10: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 812 comments A famous example where the publishers acted is Christie's 'Ten Little N*****s' which is clearly offensive. They changed it to 'Ten Little Indians' then realised that that might not be great either and so renamed it as 'And Then There Were None'.


message 11: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8932 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I would also agree with that. My daughter has read some books, though, which were changed slightly and I can see how that makes older authors more accessible. I remember she read The Enchanted Wood..."

I think relations of Arthur Ransome were angry when Titty's name was changed in a film of Swallows and Amazons, but I'm not altogether surprised the film makers made that decision.


Susan | 10008 comments Mod
Yes, that was another one, as I took my kids to see the film and she was Tatty. I can see why changed that, and Fanny, considering it would just result in tittering! Still, Aunt Fanny in the Famous Five will always remain Fanny to me!


message 13: by Nick (new) - added it

Nick | 110 comments Amazingly, this is the first Nicholas Blake novel I’ve read. I thoroughly enjoyed it up until Strangeways’ interview of Peter where, being a frequent visitor to Whodunnitland, it was immediately obvious to me that Ianthe murdered and then impersonated Melissa. And I agree with Judy that her getting away with that impersonation, particularly in perpetuity, seems doubtful; Even Day Lewis tacitly agrees here, as indicated by the lengths to which he provides arguments as to how she could get away with it. But, the culture section of my Rough Guide to Whodunnitland, along with personal experience, tells me to expect such charming local customs!


message 14: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8932 comments Mod
Great comments, Nick. I did wonder at one point if Melissa was impersonating Ianthe - it still seems even more unlikely that Ianthe could suddenly transform herself her more glamorous sister. But, as you say, the laws of the land allow such things!


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