Death by Water


Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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The title reminds me rather too much of Murder by Death - that's what the fingers first tapped out as a title for the thread!

I've given Fiona, resident Titanic bibliophile, a headstart on this book, so now feel free to release it to the rest of the Titanic world.

I've been meaning to pick up one of Kate Greenwood's crime novels for a while now. I'm not really into light fiction, but the idea of a heroine like her Phryne Fisher is too irresistable to a 20s fan. Wealthy, glamourous, independent, intelligent...those flapper dresses are lovingly described, as is the rather Louise Brookesesque heroine- at least, that's how I picture her. This is certainly escapist crime fantasy aimed at women!

It follows conventional crime novels in form - it's not a genre I'm very familiar with, but I recall the general ideas from my Agatha Christie days. I picked up this one as it was set aboard a liner, the fictional P&O vessel Hinemoa, travelling from Oz to NZ.

Although set in 1927, the Titanic is a key plot point...and I'm not giving away to much by saying so, as any reader familiar with the subject will already guess that from certain (fictional) passages that are quoted at the beginning of the chapters.

The interiors of the ship are gloriously OTT - the writer makes the point in her end notes that she had great fun with the interior decorating (although some of the styles/designers she was juxtaposing weren't quite what I thought would go together on a liner of the era).

I picked it up for a short-haul flight...long haul, my usual fare is more along the lines of Worst Journey in the World - nice, juicy, epic non-fictional works. But for the short Sydney-Melbourne hop, it was just perfect. Liner purists might find it aggravating - my eyebrows did shoot up from time to time - but as light reading goes, I found it tremendous fun.

http://www.allenandunwin.com/phryne/product.asp?ISBN=9781741145526
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hello Inger
What very good news. There seems to be an influx of new Titanic books, which is exciting. Dame Agatha seemed to like shipboard life as she set one of her books on the Lusitania. I haven't seen Murder by Death in years. What a fun movie!
Mike
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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I think you'd find it a bit of fun, Mike. I don't think this is the great unwritten Titanic novel...we seem to still be waiting for that one. But it is exactly what it was meant to be - a great light read. Classic locked room mystery stuff...with very attractive settings. I suppose it's inevitable that the series will be adapted for television (and I certainly hope it is), and I'd be interested to see how they treat this book.

I'd also like to know if the large blue saphire necklace at the centre of an attempted jewel robbery on board is a nod by the author to a certain cinematic epic!
 

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