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    Review of DEAD MAN DOCKING by Mary Daheim (see her website)


    William Morrow, August 2005

    Review by Jennifer Vilches (see her Blog)

    Judith needs a break from managing her B&B and dealing with her abrasive mother. Her cousin Renie provides the perfect escape: a cruise with a 1930s theme, courtesy of a client. But disaster strikes before they even leave the port in San Francisco. Renie's client and cruise line owner, Magglio Cruz, is murdered during the party thrown to kick off the stylish maiden voyage of his new ship.

    Renie, fearful for her job, drags Judith into an investigation. But as the body count continues to rise in an alarming fashion among their fellow shipmates, they feel compelled to compare notes with fellow amateur sleuths Rick and Rhoda St. George. The St. Georges provide martini-marinated local expertise, while Judith and Renie follow their well-honed instincts. It's a race to the finish: find the killer before all of the landlocked cruise-goers turn up dead.

    Daheim has a long-established series in the Bed & Breakfast mysteries, so I really hope there are better places to start than this latest offering. Unpleasant and largely cartoonish characters made it hard to identify with anyone. The unlikely coincidence of Judith's presence near almost every death got pretty tiring as well. The interplay between the two sets of amateur sleuths was slightly interesting, however, I found myself wanting to ditch Judith and Renie to follow the soused St. Georges instead.

    Way too abrasive for a cozy mystery, and not quite over-the-top enough for an outright spoof - Dead Man Docking is a good enough mystery to want to find out whodunit, but it's not an enjoyable journey at all.

    See more reviews of novels by Mary Daheim.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 7/06/05

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