FFB: Death in the Middle Watch

this is the 78th in my series of forgotten books

Death in the Middle Watch by Leo Bruce © 1974, Academy Chicago Arts 2004 hardcover, mystery featuring Carolus Deene

This is the second Carolus Deene mystery I’ve read, the other being Death at Hallows End. In this one, Deene is hired by a cruise company to go on a cruise into the Mediterranean to protect the passengers from a possible murder. It seems the cruise company’s owner has been receiving threatening messages, stating that “death is near”. Deene reluctantly takes the job, providing his housekeeper and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Stick, also go along at no cost. And so they set off.

We get the usual set of passenger descriptions, provided as each ascends the gangplank, with the usual hints about the character or background of each, so the reader can begin making assumptions, correct or not, about each of them. It’s only a night into the cruise when a cry of “Man overboard!” is heard by Deene and some other passengers, and he goes on deck to find a deck hand and the Captain in deep discussion. They deny any such cry, and insist no one has gone overboard and no one is missing. Sure enough, next morning the Purser reports all are present.

Two nights later, one of the passengers is strangled. The next day, at the first port of call, the passenger’s husband, who has been delayed by business and is just then joining the cruise, comes aboard. When he then is given the news of his wife’s death, he insists on diverting the ship to Gibraltar to take the body off the ship and fly it home to England for burial, which is what happens. Then another murder occurs, this one onshore at the next port of call.

Deene suggests to the Captain that he he knows who is behind the deaths, but that he can’t reveal it until they return to England, or another death will occur.

This was a light, fast read, not much of a plot and pretty easy to see through the red herrings. This is not as good as Death at Hallows End, but I’ll keep my eye out for other mysteries in this series by Bruce.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

links to all of this weeks Forgotten Book posts can be found
on Patti Abbott’s blog, Pattinase

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in books, Friday Forgotten Book, mystery, reading, Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to FFB: Death in the Middle Watch

  1. John says:

    I read one or two of the Carolus Deene books a very long time ago and can’t remember a single thing about them. I also attempted A CASE WITH FOUR CLOWNS (which is a Sgt. Beef mystery) and found it deadly dull and never finished it. Everyone says A CASE FOR THREE DETECTIVES with Sgt. Beef is Bruce’s best book. Still haven’t gotten around to reading that one.

  2. I read A Bone and a Hank of Hair (1961) and Nothing Like Blood (1962) ages ago. I remember liking them, but found them slow reading.

  3. Love that cover. Haven’t read this.

  4. Richard says:

    John, A Case for Three Detectives was the first Bruce book I read, and I got a kick out of it. It pokes fun at three big name detectives: Poirot, Whimsey and Father Brown. It’s a locked room murder puzzle, and a good bit of fun. That got me to try another, and it was the Carolus Deene novel Death at Hallows End, which I liked too. This was by far the weakest.

  5. Richard says:

    George, Charles, this is a thin book, fast read, but I’d suggest A Case for Three Detectives if you were going to read just one Bruce.

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