ISBN 978-0-9861780-1-6 paperback, 978-0-9861780-2-3 e-book
Paperback $16.95, e-book $3.99
No. 9 in the Olympia Brown Mysteries: Olympia Brown is offered free room and board on a small cruise ship in exchange for being a guest lecturer, but the dream-come-true turns into a nightmare when she learns an elegant and persuasive male passenger is targeting wealthy, single, gullible ladies for personal and heartbreaking gain. Olympia realizes that despite cruise companies’ best efforts, they can’t always keep their guests safe and happy, because for some of life’s miscreants a ship is a self-contained hunting ground where the unsuspecting prey are like fish in a barrel. Luckily for all, Olympia makes it her mission once again to set things right.
A cruise ship, large or small, is a floating world. Passengers on a sea adventure will spend a defined amount of time in close quarters with a variety of people they’ve never met before and will likely not see again when the trip is over. Because of this once-in-a-lifetime mindset, some people might do things or take chances they might not otherwise consider if they were at home and among people they know. It’s often referred to as playing away from home and can add a little harmless excitement and joie de vivre to the experience—except when it turns deadly.
Among the passengers and crew a traveler will encounter many lovely and generous people who have a ready smile, love meeting new people and will offer a helping hand at every opportunity.
Not surprisingly, there may also be one or two tight-fisted, selfish miseries whose only mission in life is to complain and find fault with everything in their path. Their world is a self-fulfilling prophecy. These people are usually easy to spot and therefore just as easily avoided.
Finally, there are those passengers with a personal agenda, be it professional, spiritual or escapist, that has nothing to do with the itinerary and affects no one but themselves.
This is a roundabout way of saying it takes all kinds of folks to fill the staterooms, and cruise lines don’t do background checks.
Whatever the duration of the trip, this one-time polyglot of personalities will be royally wined and dined and herded like well-to-do sheep from early breakfast until the last drink is poured. They will be guided on and off sightseeing buses. They will be marched around historic sites and monuments and will be cosseted and catered to on all levels. It’s what they pay for and expect to receive. It’s the kind of travel experience you either love or hate. Some people simply can’t abide the confinement or the pace, and others take to it like ducks to water, almost literally, and go off on such vacations as often as time and bank accounts will permit.
Cruise companies take great care to keep their guests safe and happy. Unfortunately, they can’t always succeed, because for a very small number of life’s miscreants, a cruise ship is a self-contained hunting ground. Unsuspecting prey are like fish in a barrel, and there is no escape.
“Olympia Brown fans will get what they have come to expect. Our favorite characters are there, and Olympia is her passionate, good-hearted self as she tries to prevent a clever con-man from plying his trade on a pleasure cruise. Fans will be totally surprised by the ending and will lose their hearts to a little lost kitten named Sebastien.”
—Peter Bowden, Unitarian Universalist, TV producer, educator, social activist
“Traveling with Olympia and Frederick is like traveling with old friends. One had best be prepared for trouble, though, even cruising down a river in Europe. Fans and newcomers alike will … keep turning those pages until the very end.”
—Vaughn Keller, MFT, EdD, Author of the Frank Kelly Mysteries