Murder Ahoy!, Fiona Leitch
From the cute, silly, chatty end of the cosy spectrum, what I saw were aspects of Nell Forrest and Tabitha Darling, crossed with Helen Hawthorne delivered with a hefty hat-tip to Murder, She Wrote. But I'm not a close follower of cosy crime, so that probably reflects more about my limited reading than any particular expertise. MURDER AHOY! is the second novel in the Bella Tyson series, following on from DEATH IN VENICE. The author, Fiona Leitch, has another comic cosy series - The Nosey Parker Mysteries for fans of that style of story-telling.
The action is set in the locked room scenario of a luxury liner Murder Mystery cruise that Famous (I feel like it needs to be capitalised) crime writer Bella Tyson has been hired to co-host. Booked into a deluxe cabin with her new husband, Will, Bella, a woman of a certain age (late forties thank goodness, women do have active sex / love lives over the age of 25 after all... but I digress), is not best pleased to discover that her fellow co-hosts are ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer Louise Meyers. (How you come to sign up for a co-hosting deal and not hear a whisper of your fellow contributors I'm not sure, but I digress again, the style of this novel is catching...). Anyway, Joel's a philandering bastard, and Louise is some sort of nasty goddess in Bella's eyes, and Bella's more than a bit over-heated and reactionary as a result. Not helped when bodies start appearing and she is instantly in the frame for offing one of her least favourite people in the world.
So the plot's of the over-heated rushing about style, as you'd expect, and the chatter easy to hear in a very high-pitched voice, and the whole thing is a bit on the manic side, with Bella being perfectly pitched as the sort of grating, high-maintenance / no-nonsense if you're on her side, mildly deranged woman that many fans of this sub-genre are going to absolutely love. Doesn't hurt that she's on the older side - the world has more than enough heroines that are younger than some of the much treasured clothes hanging in our wardrobes, but enough with the digressing.... Of course, with all these things, humour is very much in the eye of the beholder, so I suspect readers are going to either be cheering for Bella or hoping like hell somebody upends her over the nearest railing.
Definitely a series that fans of this style of storytelling should have a look at - if for no other reason than to decide whether you're pro Bella or part of the over the railings with her group.
Famous crime writer Bella Tyson is hired to co-host a Murder Mystery cruise, on a luxury liner sailing from Southampton to New York. She’s expecting an easy ride; fun and games, surrounded by amateur sleuths and fans of her books, all the while staying in a deluxe cabin and enjoying the spa and the amazing restaurants on board, culminating in a visit to one of her favourite cities in the world - the Big Apple.
She’s NOT expecting to be stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic with her two least favourite people in the world, her hot but unfaithful bastard ex-husband Joel Quigley and fellow crime writer, bitch goddess and Twitter frenemy, Louise Meyers. And when real live dead bodies start turning up - as well as fake not-really-dead bodies - Bella’s dreams of being pampered on the high seas turn sour.
Accused of a murder she would have liked to commit but didn’t, and helped (or hindered) by a gang of unlikely detectives, can Bella find out who the real murderer is before the ship reaches its destination and New York’s finest drag her off?