RogerBW's Blog

Night Ferry To Death, Patricia Moyes 23 October 2023

1985 mystery, seventeenth in the series about Superintendent Henry Tibbett. Returning from Amsterdam, Henry and Emmy can't get a cabin on the night ferry, and end up having to rough it in seats. In the morning, one of their fellow travellers has been murdered…

There are missing diamonds, and criminal masterminds so terrifying that someone shoots themselves rather than admit failure or turn themselves in to the police. But there's also a clear inspiration from reality, with the fiddly details of the ferry's mechanics: you can always get a cabin at the last moment, except when you suddenly can't because of a mass booking; you can place radiotelephone calls via the purser, at great expense…

But also because it's Moyes what's most important is the people, and what Tibbett is gradually able to learn about the candidates for thief and/or murderer. Perhaps the world is a little small, since many of the passengers seem to know each other even if they won't admit it. The story is short, but there are plenty of moving parts, and everything ticks along very neatly.

Perhaps too neatly? I didn't feel quite as much enthusiasm here as I have for some of Moyes' other novels, but it's still a better detective story than most writers ever manage.

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Previous in series: A Six-Letter Word For Death | Series: Henry Tibbett | Next in series: Black Girl, White Girl

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