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Q. Patrick - S.S. Murder

Introduction by Curtis Evans

It’s homicide on the high seas in this “A 1 mystery” by the Edgar Award–winning author Q. Patrick (Kirkus Reviews).

Cub reporter Mary Llewellyn is on a soothing sea cruise to help her recover after a minor operation. Her fellow passengers are pleasant enough, gathering to play a friendly game of bridge to pass the time. But the game turns considerably less so when a wealthy businessman samples a cocktail―and ends up dead at the table.

The news that someone onboard dumped a fatal dose of strychnine into the man’s drink sends a ripple of panic through the voyagers. All too soon, it becomes clear that the murder was not an isolated incident when another passenger is shoved overboard during a storm.

Determined to stop a murderer, Mary decides to do some snooping above and below deck to get to the truth. If she doesn’t figure out the mystery of the seagoing slayer, she might not make it back to land alive.

A traditional mystery set aboard a luxury cruise liner from the Golden Age of nautical travel, S.S. Murder is a charming whodunit written under a shared pseudonym used by Sweeney Todd author Hugh Wheeler and his lover Ricky Webb.

Q. Patrick was one of the pen names under which Hugh Callingham Wheeler (1912–1987), Richard Wilson Webb (1901–1966), Martha Mott Kelley (1906–2005), and Mary Louise White Aswell (1902–1984) wrote detective fiction. Most of the stories were written together by Webb and Wheeler, or by Wheeler alone. Their best-known creation is amateur sleuth Peter Duluth. In 1963, the story collection The Ordeal of Mrs. Snow was given a Special Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America.

Curtis Evans is the author of several studies of classic crime fiction, including Masters of the “Humdrum” MysteryThe Spectrum of English Murder, and Clues and Corpses: The Detective Fiction and Mystery Criticism of Todd Downing. He edited the Edgar-nominated Murder in the Closet: Queer Clues in Crime Fiction Before Stonewall and blogs at The Passing Tramp.

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