Super-sleuth Hannah Ives must conjure up all her detective skills when her niece does a vanishing act on a family cruise.
Hannah, her sisters and fourteen-year-old niece Julie set sail from Baltimore on a bonding cruise, and have a dramatic first night when Pia Fanucci, a bubbly bartender magician’s assistant whom Hannah befriends, narrowly escapes injury during an illusion. But while Pia may make light of the incident, it’s no laughing matter when Julie suddenly disappears. Has she gone overboard, or is she injured somewhere on the enormous ship?
To make matters worse, Hannah meets David Warren, a grieving father whose twenty-two-year-old daughter vanished without trace from an earlier cruise. With claims of a proper investigation proving to be an illusion too far, Hannah teams up with David and Pia in desperation. Can they see through the ship’s smoke and mirrors to reveal the identity of a dangerous sea-faring predator?
About the Author
Marcia Talley is the Agatha and Anthony award-winning author of eleven previous crime novels featuring survivor and sleuth, Hannah Ives. Her short stories appear in more than a dozen collections and have been reprinted in several of The Year’s Finest Crime and Mystery Stories anthologies. She is a past President of Sisters in Crime, Inc. Marcia lives in Annapolis, MD, but spends the winter months aboard an antique sailboat in the Bahamas.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In the interest of fair play, let me say this first---I know Marcia Talley although I haven't seen her in years. She used to come to my bookstore for events and I have been a fan of her books for a long time. So, yes, I can't help but be a little bit biased, but I believe you'll find this a balanced review. Hannah Ives has grown a lot over the years. We walked along beside her after she survived breast cancer but lost her job and discovered that she has a talent for solving crimes. Since then, Hannah has gotten family members and friends---even herself---out of one criminal crisis or another and branched out into helping others, all the while doing her sleuthing quietly and with a lot of thought. She'll need all her experience and knowledge of human nature to get to the bottom of a cold case while she and her sisters are on a cruise. Once Julie, her 14-year-old niece, on the cruise with her mom and aunts, becomes a victim, Hannah is even more determined to ferret out the killer. The feeling that jumped out at me about this story, almost from the beginning, is comfort, in an odd sort of way. Partly, that's because I've been on cruises so the setting was very familiar. The sisterly bonding thing affected me, too, although I have no sisters; as my daughters have become mature women, I've found that we have a similar kind of bond and I enjoyed seeing Hannah, Ruth and Georgina spending some much-needed time together without the distractions of husbands and homes and jobs. As for the sleuthing, I kind of think this is not Ms. Talley's strongest entry in the series largely because Hannah was not quite as efficient as she usually is and she was actually wrong about a few things, jumping to some very quick and inaccurate conclusions while I had it pegged fairly early. On the other hand, this is a nice riff on the locked room mystery trope and I did thoroughly enjoy myself. Dark Passage is a fun vacation read for fans of suspense with a lot of wit and red herrings and I'm already anticipating Hannah's next adventure in crime. One last thing---as a former and, hopefully, future cruiser, I really appreciated the chapter-heading notes about security and safety on these ships. they're worthwhile for anyone planning a trip on the high seas.