The two main characters in this book are Suzy, a struggling actress in her sixties who has been stranded in Europe after a show has been rather abruptly cancelled in mysterious circumstances and Amanda, a youngish grandmother who is trying to downsize but is having enormous complications with her new property purchase and finds herself temporarily homeless. Both of them end up on a transatlantic cruise liner, Suzy to work her passage home and Amanda because a last minute deal was as cheap a way of getting a roof over her head for three weeks as anything she could find in London and because three weeks of utter relaxation away from the stresses and strains of home life is just what she needs at the moment.
And then things start to get a little complicated…..
This book doesn’t pretend to be anything that it isn’t. It’s an easy holiday read, a real page-turner and a great story. I couldn’t put it down. The characters are well developed, believable. They are also likeable enough for me to really hope that everything turns out OK for them which always helps. There is the added advantage that many of them come from the acting fraternity and can therefore get away with being more eccentric than the norm, without seeming contrived. Even the villains of the piece were convincing. There is humour aplenty, derived from various sources including an American lady who has Malapropisms down to a fine art and a collection of ludicrously improbable situations which would give a world class farce a run for its money. Murder and mayhem abound providing plenty of twists and turns in a well thought out, if slightly complicated, plot. It’s not the best literary English but then it doesn’t have pretensions in that direction. It’s just a very enjoyable book that makes no demands on the reader but gives plenty of scope for a touch of escapism.
If I had to come up with a criticism, and I do so reluctantly, it would be that the plot is, if anything unnecessarily convoluted, requiring a certain amount of concentration at times to disentangle the current state of affairs.
I have never read a Celia Imrie novel before, but will definitely be looking out for her other two books. She has a knack for creating a gripping storyline and I hope the other two are as successful as this book in maintaining tension as well as providing comedic interludes. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anybody who is looking for an easy read.