St. Martin's, Apr 2003, 23.95, 272 pp.
Chicago senior citizen Emily Charters takes her grieving friend Lynn Francis on a Great Lakes cruise to help the younger woman cope with the recent death of her lesbian lover. On board the same ship is nasty and dictatorial Marcella Hemsley who has no qualms at being the queen of mean and abusing her reticent companion, her young niece Rebecca. Surprisingly since she seems to still be grieving her loss, Lynn finds herself attracted to Rebecca. Perhaps as shocking, Rebecca responds, at least to the friendliness offered especially by Lynn but Emily too.
However, someone murders Marcella whose corpse is found in her cabin. The police arrest Rebecca who had motive and opportunity. Unable to resist especially since Lynn is interested, Emily begins investigating. Helping her is police detective Jeremy Ransom, her partner on several other cases.
RANSOM AT SEA is a classic investigative tale that runs the inquiry gamut but is at its best while the lead couple interviews potential witnesses and suspects. The who-done-it story line dominates the tale as the elderly Emily and her junior “colleague” question an amusing ensemble to uncover who actually killed the offensive victim. Lynn's sexual preference is not hidden and handled with dexterity by Fred Hunter, as he provides a delightful mystery that readers will appreciate.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner