Mystery and Murder Afloat

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Agatha Christie had one set aboard the Lusitania, but I can't recall the title.

Shelley, I have a listing of Agatha Christie titles; will have to email them to you, after I deduct the titles that I know are not set aboard the Lusitania.​
Thanks for that information, Thorsten.
I checked out "The Secret Adversary" and plan to read it after I finish "Murder For Christmas". I did see that "The Man In the Brown Suit" is set partially on a steamer, but which is heading to Africa (South Africa residents were listed in at least two early AC novels).

Yesterday, I stumbled accross a "gem": in the Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot anthology book "Poirot Investigates", published in 1924, there is one chapter called "The Million Dollar Bond Robbery", and is about a heist at sea.

The two ships named in that Chapter are the Olympia, sailing from Liverpool, and the Gigantic, departing from Southampton.

I was impressed by this, since, in 1924, the Britannic was gone, and readers may or may not have remembered that it was going to be called Gigantic; also, it is mentioned how Gigantic holds the speed record.

Of course I mused on how the Olympia was probably a reference to the Olympic, and of course White Star had long ago ceded the speed records to Cunard. Still I thought "Thanks, Agatha".
Ahh yes, the dear old Gigantic and the Olympia. I wonder if a student of Dame Agatha has written a paper about the ship names in her books. Was Agatha Christie fond of steamship travel? Did she invariably pick names ending in -ic (White Star) or -ia (Cunard)for her fictional ships? I think there was a Carmantia or Carmantic in another Poirot tale, which she may have altered from Carpathia. I like to imagine she did. There was an Egyptian steamer, the Karnak, in Death on the Nile, but she was not a Cunard/White Star liner.
Marilyn, I will have to check, as I am reading, and re-reading AC Novels, plus I belong to a UK-based AC Website; will have to reference this, or look for these answers when I come accross the names of ships.
I recall a ship sailing being used in one of Dame Agatha's earliest books, but it was not a name related to any of our noteworthy ships.

The KILMORDEN CASTLE is listed in "The Man In The Brown Suit"; that is the only other ship (besides LUSITANIA mentioned in "The Secret Adversary").
I bought a book at a second hand bookstore over the weekend called "Murder on the Titanic". The byline says "as long as she stays alive, the crime will be remembered" (or something like that). Haven't read it yet, but hey, for $.50 you can't go wrong
RE: Agatha Christie, in most of her stories, a ship's name is not listed.
I do, need to see if a specific ship was noted near the end of THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD; a reference is made about a person making a call before a ship sails from Liverpool.
Is the author James Walker? I don't think I've read it.
I've read "The Titanic Murders" by Max Aiken Collins and 'Titanic' by Tony Aspler and found them both to be good reads as mysteries. I don't know how accurate they are, but they aren't turkeys.
"Sherlock Holmes and the Titanic Tragedy" by William Seil pushes credibility as a Holmes story. The most creditable part is that Holmes could've gone on Titanic. The date of its voyage fits - with a shoehorn - into the chronology used in Doyle's story "His Last Bow". (I contend that sailing on the Olympic's maiden voyage in 1911 would have fit better.) But it's not bad as a Titanic novel.

P.S. to John Clifford. Thanks for the report on Dame Agatha's ships.

Jason D. Tiller

Hi Marilyn,


I've read "The Titanic Murders" by Max Aiken Collins and 'Titanic' by Tony Aspler and found them both to be good reads as mysteries.

Actually, that's Max Allan Collins you're thinking of.

I agree, both books are very good and they are excellent summer reads as well. Plus, I found them to be very hard to put down. Although, Collins' book is more accurate with respect to the passengers.​
Another quick note: In Agatha Christie's "Death On the Nile", the character of Andrew Pennington claimed to have come over on the CARMANIA, but Poirot was able to note that he, instead, sailed on the NORMANDIE; that was used to note how quickly he got over to Egypt (having flown from Europe upon his arrival on NORMANDIE) which is appropriate as NORMANDIE did secure the Blue Ribband a few times.

I presume CARMANIA was a valid name for a Cunard ship sailing at the time "Death On the Nile" was first published.
I guess it depends on what you expect from a book of this kind. I was rather irritated by both 'The Titanic Murders' (Collins) and 'Murder on the Titanic' (Walker). The latter is particularly woefully researched and in dire need of editing. Additionally both use actual historic people as villains, Collins more than Walker, and I think that is just not a fair thing to do.

I have to admit I am no great fan of murder mystery and read those books mainly because they were set on the Titanic so I may be more critical than if I read them mainly for the suspense.

Cheers, Monika
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