Monday, February 24, 2020

Deep Waters: Murder on the Waves

Deep Waters: Murder on the Waves (2019) edited by Martin Edwards contains a lovely set of water-related mysteries for the reader with a fondness for crime. Stories ranging from those from the pen of well-known authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edmund Crispin to the more obscure offerings of Gwyn Evans and Kem Bennett. Overall, a very strong showing with a wide range of liquid murderous methods. My favorites are "The Pool of Secrets," "Four Friends and Death," "The Turn of the Tide," and "The Queer Fish."  ★★

"The Adventure of the Gloria Scott" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes tells Dr. Watson about his first case. A nice literary tidbit, but it serves more to give background on Holmes and show the earliest use of his powers of observation than to serve up an actual mystery for Holmes to solve. There are few deductions on display--the answer to the puzzle is served up in a document from the father of Holmes's friend.

"The Eight-Mile Lock" by L. T. Meade & Robert Eustace: John Bell, who specializes in debunking the supposed supernatural, is taking a short holiday with his friends Lord and Lady Ridsdale aboard their house-boat on the Thames. While there, Lady Ridsdale's beautiful diamond bracelet disappears. But it isn't until Bell helps the local lock-keeper to get to the bottom of the ghostly cries for the locks to be open that the thief and the whereabouts of the bracelet are revealed.

"The Gift of the Emperor" by E. W. Hornung: The last of the Raffles stories. Our gentleman burglar decides to steal a pearl of great price and boards a German ship to do so. Will he succeed? Will he escape justice? And what of poor Bunny?

"Bullion!" by William Hope Hodgson: Strange deaths by "just sickening and going off" and mysterious late-night whisperings haunt a ship hauling cases of gold bullion. The second mate realizes just in time what it all means.

"The Echo of a Mutiny" by R. Austin Freeman: Two men who had previously been involved in a mutiny meet up for duty in a lighthouse. One of the men is killed and the other tries to cover his tracks--but when Dr. Thorndyke enters the case, his hopes for escape rapidly dwindle.

"The Pool of Secrets" by Gwyn Evans: features a murder that is supposed to be the work of the Silver Bride, the ghost of a woman who drowned herself in her wedding gown. Quentin Drex uses some unorthodox methods to get to the bottom of the mystery.

"Four Friends & Death" by Christopher St. John Sprigg: a short vignette about whether friendship can last when one of the four friends (alone together on a boat) falls down dead--from poison!

"The Turn of the Tide" by C. S. Forester: A murderous lawyer finds the answer to the problem of what to do with the corpse....with unexpected results!

"The Swimming Pool" by H. C. Bailey: Dr. Reggie Fortune is called in when an anonymous note says that Old Mr. Colburn's death wasn't as natural as it seemed. Fortune is disturbed by the disused swimming pool on the estate and soon has a headless corpse and a missing nurse on his hands.

"A Question of Timing" by Phyllis Bentley: Bentley begins her story with an interesting hook: "A month or so ago, one Thursday afternoon, I stopped a murder." And this short little story goes on to tell how Robert Beringer, a writer, did just that while out on a walk along the Thames. He saved a life and got the girl...all in an afternoon's walk.

"The Thimble River Mystery" by Josephine Bell: Bell's story could also have been titled "A Question of Timing"--because timing becomes very crucial to the solution of the murder. There is a limited window of time when the killer could have reached the boat to do the deed.

"Man Overboard" by Edmund Crispin: A blackmailer's stash helps Inspector Humbleby catch a killer--an American whose brother supposedly "accidentally" drowned.

"The Queer Fish" by Kem Bennett: Albert Pascoe, salmon poacher, is forced at gunpoint to give transport to two strangers who want to make landfall in France. He takes them for a ride all right...and gets a bit of a surprise for his trouble.

"The Man Who Was Drowned" by James Pattinson: A woman claims to have seen a man go overboard, but Barton Rice, friend of the ship's captain and something to do with Scotland Yard, immediately spots a few inconsistencies in her story. He decides to do a little investigating on his own.

"Seasprite" by Andrew Garve: A smuggler gets more than he bargained for when he takes on a new partner.

"Death by Water" by Michael Innes: Did Sir John Appleby's vague philosopher friend commit suicide or did someone help him to his death by water? A very fishy state of affairs with a very fishy little clue.

Deaths: 16 (one other/natural; six drowned; two other [attacked by piranhas]; three poisoned; two strangled; one hit on head; one fell from height)
PopSugar: Anthology
Pick Your Poison: Shorts (book of short stories)


Kate said...

Well this was definitely a good collection to put towards your number of deaths reading challenge. Some quite unusual ones too.

Bev Hankins said...

Yeah...loved those piranhas. :-)