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Title Wave: 04/25/18
Title Wave by Lorna Barrett is the tenth of the Booktown mysteries. It follows in a long tradition of mysteries aboard ship. The tradition goes all the way back to Agatha Christie (Death on the Nile, 1937) but the mystery on cruise ship really hit its stride in the 1960s-1980s when every weekly mystery show had an episode on a cruise ship.
Though set in the present day, Title Wave brings to mind those old TV episodes with fondness. The Booktown shop owners have booked passage on a writer's cruise. Tricia, expecting a break from everything (the rebuilding of her shop, being the town jinx, the death of her ex-husband). But a murder mystery book wouldn't be a mystery without a murder.
The set up to this one really felt like a Murder She Wrote in that there were a group of bickering, likeminded folks in a closed, remote (in this case cruise ship), and one really obnoxious person hated by everyone else. That hated person ends up dead. At first glance it appears to be death by suicide but clearly that can't be the case because of inconsistencies with the person's cabin at the time of death. By the way, did you know that there were three episodes where Jessica Fletcher goes on a cruise only to have someone end up dead?
I do have to admit that the cruise ship setting is gimmicky. It will either work for you or it won't. It pretty much stands alone in terms of over all plot arcs. So if you like the series but don't like the sound of this one, you can skip it.
Personally, I hope you don't. It's fun. It's cheesy fun. It takes familiar — albeit somewhat outdated tropes — dumps our characters into the middle of them and lets things play out.