Helen Gardener is murdered on a trans-Atlantic cruise. The Diamond Royale sails from Southampton to New York with her murderer aboard. Set in the 1950s, Poisoned Waters follows the stories of seven unfortunate characters and how they are affected by her death. Was it merely an accident? Mr Phillips, the owner of the ship, and sponsor of the cruise, rules with an iron fist, in search of something or someone.
Lies spiral out of control as the suspects try to survive the final days on board. Conflicted by their sense of morals, greed, and lust, they realise what kind of people they really are. Who will rise? Who will fall? Who was Helen’s murderer
The characters in this book are written in such a way as to make them become more realistic and this compels the reader want to find out more about them; however, as their true emotions and personal agendas surface you find yourself shying away from them. In developing the characters in this manner, the Author has provided an additional dimension to this book, and turns it into something more than a murder mystery, it is this extra aspect that will keep you wanting to read on. The use of some of the characters native languages really contributed to the overall makeup of them, and helped them become more alive. There is a great deal of character swapping in this book, but not enough that the reader would become confused and lose track of what was going on.
Set on a 1950’s cruise ship, the Author takes us there with ease, managing to instil the feelings of an era that was still reeling from the horrors of war. Skillfully the Author manages to bring out the rules, prejudices and class society boundaries that were prevalent at this time, without sounding preachy or judgemental about some of the points of view expressed, Obviously a lot of research in the 1950’s, and the cruise lines in particular, was carried out when writing this novel and it shows in the descriptions of the ship. However this novel is about more than murder and the mystery that surrounds it; it is about the dark, unspoken side of human nature, and the questioning of that nature when temptation rears its ugly head. Like many of the readers of this novel, I like to have faith in humanity, but know deep down that it is flawed in an irreparable way; the Author is well aware of this too, and manages to convey this through their writing.
The fun part of reading this book for me was the impression I got that I was reading a round of the board game Cluedo (Clue). Just when I thought I had figured it all out and was about to make my call, there came a twist that had me wondering all over again. This is a nicely paced little book, with lots of these twists and turns that brings you to a very surprising conclusion.
I would recommend it to all lovers of the mystery/murder/thriller genre, and even lovers of the board game might find this an enjoyable read.
This post has been part of the Poisoned Waters Blog Tour. Poisoned Waters is a thrilling mystery set on a trans-Atlantic cruise where a murderer walks amongst passengers.