Monday, March 06, 2023

Bert and Mamie Take a Cruise by John Keyse-Walker

First Lines: Mamie--February 8, 1939-- At sea. No one was more surprised than me when Bert shot the purser.
Who knew that you could get rich by growing tomatoes during the Depression? That's exactly what happened to Bert and Mamie Mason. Well, at least they have enough money to slake Bert's wanderlust and desire for adventure. 

Leaving Hills Corners, Ohio, behind, they've boarded the SS Columbus, a glamorous German-owned ocean liner that is scheduled to take them on a cruise around the continent of Africa.

The gregarious couple quickly make friends among their fellow passengers, but when Mamie witnesses something shocking, the couple finds themselves turning detective, dodging Nazis and learning the deep dark secrets of their newfound friends. Somehow, they've got to find a killer, enjoy their cruise, and make it back to Ohio alive.


Married for thirty years, Mamie agreed to this cruise around Africa so that her husband Bert could indulge his lifelong passion for adventure-- something you can't find much of in Hills Corners, Ohio. While Bert is hankering for some rip-roaring tales to tell the folks back home, Mamie is the sort who prefers room service, lounging poolside and dancing in the evenings. They are an outgoing couple who rapidly make friends among the passengers and crew, although they would prefer to avoid the Nazis on board.

When Mamie witnesses a crime, the captain of the ship wants to keep it as quiet as possible and uses Bert's experience as a sheriff's deputy (even though it was only for a year and twenty years ago at that) to avoid bringing in the police when the ship arrives at port. Husband and wife make an interesting investigative team, reminiscent of Hollywood's Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man movies. While Bert tries to keep his wife safe, Mamie gathers many important clues through her girl talk with the friends she's made on board.

Bert and Mamie are a likable pair, and I enjoyed their give and take. The author's setting of an actual ocean liner and cruise just before the start of World War II brought the story to life and made me wish I could travel along with them as they sailed around the continent, stopping several times along the way for "in-country" trips. All in all, a choice investigation for an armchair traveler like me.

Bert and Mamie Take a Cruise by John Keyse-Walker
eISBN: 9781448310166
Severn House © 2023
eBook, 224 pages
Historical Mystery, Standalone
Rating: B
Source: Net Galley


  1. Oh, this sounds like fun, Cathy. I like the sound of the characters, and I would love to take a cruise, too; the armchair traveler in me would probably really enjoy this one.

    1. I know I did. I've always wanted to travel on an ocean liner.

  2. Hopefully the price of this will come down at some stage (£12 for the Kindle version) and when it does I'll grab it as I absolutely love the sound of it.

  3. It sounds pretty good, glad I reserved it at the library! Somehow an ocean liner sounds like a more exciting adventure than just a cruise!

    1. The closest I've come is going to Long Beach and wandering all over the Queen Mary sans any sort of tour guide or other companions.


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