Murder on the Salsette (Ocean Liner Mysteries, 6)

Written by Edward Marston
Review by Douglas Kemp

May 1909, and George Dillman and Genevieve Masefield embark upon their sixth ocean-going crime adventure in the series. Having been married at the end of the previous installment and enjoyed a short honeymoon in India, George and Genevieve start their next assignment in a relatively small but still luxurious vessel, The Salsette (a small island off the mainland in India) on a four-day sail from Bombay (now known as Mumbai) to Aden. There are thefts to investigate, and then a murder, to keep the detective duo busy.

The challenge, as always, for the pair is to inveigle themselves into the social life of the vessel’s passengers while maintaining their anonymity as onboard detectives, and attempting to solve the various crimes that accompany their oceanic voyages. There are a variety of characters travelling onboard with intriguing pasts, who are conveniently kept in the same small space for the duration of the voyage, and there is no option to call in the conventional police forces as well, of course. As ever in this series, the plot is well-planned and executed, with a few surprises on the way, and the historical context is excellent.