By Kerry Greenwood

The good males at P&O are apprehensive. A succession of bijou thefts from the top quality passengers is hardly ever the easiest commercial for his or her cruises. in particular while it's most probably passenger is the thief. Phryne Fisher, together with her Lulu bob, eco-friendly eyes, cupid’s bow lips, and feel that the ends justify the capability, is simply the individual to mingle seamlessly with the higher sessions and tackle a case of robbery at the excessive seas or a minimum of at the S.S. Hinemoa, on a luxurious cruise to New Zealand. She is wearing the good Queen of Sapphires, the Maharani, as bait. Shipboard romances, champagne cocktails, erotic photographers, jealous swains, Mickey Finns, jazz musicians, blackmail, and tried homicide mingle sooner than the thieves discover, as have numerous love-smitten males ahead of them, that the place the glamorous and clever Phryne is worried, resistance is futile.

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Mavis had given up on the errant Rosie after Magda returned from the crew quarters without her. She gathered her 30 Death by Water-PAGES 21/4/05 2:21 PM Page 31 girls, lifted her baton, and they launched into a nice, upbeat version of ‘Pardon me, Pretty Baby’. Phryne sang along under her breath. Phryne observed that Lil, the trombone player, had been propped upright against a convenient pillar. She was playing faultlessly, probably by memory. Musicians, it seemed, were like sailors; as long as they weren’t too drunk to stand up they could manage their duties.

The trumpet player drifted over to stand a little behind Phryne, under the shade of the palms, emptying her spit valve into the pot. ’ she asked, staring artlessly into space. ‘I am,’ said Phryne. ’ ‘I’m Lizbet Yates,’ said Lizbet, unwrapping a flat silver paper package and extracting another piece of whatever it was that she had been chewing. She had the fair colouring of the admirable wharfie and knockabout bloke Cec’s Scandinavian ancestry; pale straight hair, ice-blue eyes and a humorous quirk to her mouth.

The Great Queen of Sapphires, eh? Usually have a tale attached to them, the great stones. ’ ‘Oh yes, there’s a story,’ replied Phryne. A waiter leaned over her to fill her wine glass with red wine. ‘But I’ll tell it another time. I have always been interested in photography, Mr Forrester. ’ ‘Yes. My speciality is the female form divine,’ he said, gazing dreamily at Mrs West’s practically uncovered bosom. Mr West, in a purely animal and instinctive move, slid an arm over his wife’s shoulder. ’ said the arm.

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