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Santa Cruise (Regan Reilly Series)
     

Santa Cruise (Regan Reilly Series)

3.7 69
by Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark
 

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America's Queen of Suspense -- Mary Higgins Clark -- joins forces with her daughter Carol -- bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries -- in this fast-paced novel set on a special holiday cruise that sets sail from Miami the day after Christmas.

Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth; her husband, Willy; recently hitched

Overview

America's Queen of Suspense -- Mary Higgins Clark -- joins forces with her daughter Carol -- bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries -- in this fast-paced novel set on a special holiday cruise that sets sail from Miami the day after Christmas.

Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth; her husband, Willy; recently hitched private detective Regan Reilly and her groom, Jack, head of the NYPD Major Case Squad; and Regan's parents, Nora and Luke, are guests on the Royal Mermaid's maiden voyage, the Santa Cruise. The cruise is Commodore Randolph Weed's gift to a select group of people who in the last year "made the world a better place." What he really wants is good publicity that will generate future bookings for his struggling new venture. He also plans to scatter his beloved mother's ashes at sea during this four-day odyssey in the Caribbean. What he doesn't know is that his ne'er-do-well nephew, Eric, has smuggled two escaping criminals on board.

Alvirah won the cruise at a charity auction and persuaded the Reillys to accompany her and Willy. Other passengers include members of the Oklahoma Readers and Writers group, who volunteer their time teaching people to read. The group is planning a mystery seminar dedicated to a Ghost of Honor, the late Left Hook Louie, a champion prizefighter turned bestselling author. There are also ten men on board who had donated their time playing Santa Claus during the holiday season as well as assorted other charitable folk, all planning on a restful post-Christmas vacation.

The hoped-for tranquility soon vanishes. A terrified mystery fan swears she has spotted the Ghost of Honor in the ship's chapel. Two Santa suits disappear from a locked supply room. A storm develops, and in the infirmary an attempt is made on the life of a seemingly feeble passenger. Back in Miami, a TV reporter is turning the cruise into a public-relations nightmare, thanks to her spies on the ship.

As the Royal Mermaid sails through troubled waters, Alvirah, Regan, and Jack are uncovering the clues that lead them to dangerous criminals who were not on the original guest list!

Filled with suspense and humor, Santa Cruise is a holiday mystery you won't want to miss. Join the Clarks as they bring this unpredictable voyage to a hair-raising and heartwarming conclusion and ring in the New Year.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of the lighthearted fourth yuletide mystery from the bestselling mother-daughter Clarks (after 2004's The Christmas Thief), Randolph Weed, "self-styled commodore," launches his newly refurbished boat, the Royal Mermaid, from Miami with a "Santa Cruise" to raise money for charity and reward 400 "Do-Gooders of the Year." Meanwhile, Weed's greedy nephew, Eric Manchester, has made a secret $2 million deal with escaped felons Bull's-Eye Tony Pinto and Barron Highbridge to keep them hidden aboard the Royal Mermaid until it reaches Fishbowl Island, where they can make trouble out of federal jurisdiction. Fortunately, there are plenty of Do-Gooders to foil the bad guys, notably the mystery mavens of the Oklahoma Readers and Writers group and sleuthing philanthropist Alvirah Meehan. Full of mystery-lite cheer but lacking in style and substance, this collaboration is never quite buoyant enough to really deck the halls for fans of the Clarks' superior solo efforts. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The day after Christmas, a host of Clark & Clark regulars-amateur sleuth Alvirah Meehan and husband Willy, plus P.I. Regan Reilly and groom Jack-join a cruise with 50 writers and fans at a mystery seminar. Alas, the deceased writer to whom the seminar is dedicated seems to have shown up as well. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416547242
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
11/14/2006
Series:
Regan Reilly Series
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
81,746
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Monday, December 19th

Randolph Weed, self-styled commodore, stood on the deck of his pride and joy, the Royal Mermaid, an old ship he had bought and paid a fortune to refurbish and on which he intended to spend the rest of his life playing host to both friends and paying guests. Docked in the Port of Miami, the ship was being readied for its maiden voyage, the "Santa Cruise," a four-day trip in the Caribbean with one stop at Fishbowl Island.

Dudley Loomis, his forty-year-old PR man, who would also serve as cruise director, joined Randolph on the deck. He took a deep breath of the refreshing breeze blowing off the Atlantic Ocean and sighed happily. "Commodore, I have e-mailed all the major news organizations once again to let them know about this unique and wonderful maiden voyage. I began the release, 'On December 26th, Santa is turning in his sleigh, giving Rudolph and the other reindeer some time off, and taking a cruise. It's the Santa Cruise -- Commodore Randolph Weed's gift to a select group of people who have in their own unique way made the world a better place this past year.' "

"I've always liked giving gifts," the Commodore said, a smile on his weathered but still handsome sixty-three-year-old face. "But people didn't always appreciate it. My three ex-wives never understood what a deep and caring man I am. For goodness' sake, I gave my last wife my Google stock before it went public."

"That was a terrible mistake," Dudley said solemnly, shaking his head. "A terrible mistake."

"I don't begrudge her the money. I've made and lost fortunes. Now I want to give back to others. As you know, this Santa Cruise was created to raise money for charity, and celebrate those who have given of themselves."

"It was my idea," Dudley reminded him.

"True. But the money to pay for this cruise is coming out of my pocket. I spent considerably more than I expected in order to make the Royal Mermaid the beautiful ship she has become. But she's worth every penny." He paused. "At least I hope she is."

Dudley Loomis held his tongue. Everyone had warned the Commodore that he'd be better off having a new ship built than dumping a fortune into this old tub, but I do admit it cleaned up rather well, Dudley told himself. He had been cruise director on mammoth vessels where he had to worry about several thousand guests, many of whom he found intensely irritating. He would now deal with only four hundred passengers, most of whom would probably be happy to sit on deck and read instead of having entertainment shoved down their throats twenty-four hours a day. Dudley had come up with the idea of the Santa Cruise when reservations for passage on the Royal Mermaid were almost nil. He was a PR man right down to the rubber soles of his yachting shoes.

"We should have a free cruise the day after Christmas to get the kinks out of the ship before any paying passengers, or reviewers, come on board," he had told his boss. "You'll donate passage to charities and do-gooders. It'll only be a few days, and in the long run it will pay for itself with the good publicity I'll get for you. By the time our official maiden voyage rolls around on January 20th, we'll be turning people away. You wait and see."

The Commodore had needed a few minutes to think about it. "A totally free cruise?"

"Free!" Dudley had insisted. "Everything for free!"

The Commodore had winced. "The bar, too?"

"Everything! From soup to nuts!"

Eventually, the Commodore agreed. The special Santa Cruise would set sail in one week, the day after Christmas, and return to Miami four days later.

Now, as the two men walked along the freshly scrubbed deck, they went over the final details. "I'm still hoping for one of the television stations to at least attend the pre-sailing cocktail party on the deck," Dudley said. "I've sent word to the ten Santa Clauses you are treating to get here early so they can try on the lightweight Santa Claus outfits that you had made for them. They should be ready to mingle with everyone at our evening cocktail party.

"It turned out to be a blessing in disguise when I had that fender bender with that Santa Claus from Tallahassee last month. While we were exchanging insurance papers, he got weepy and confided how exhausting it was to listen to children all day long, have pictures taken with them, and, worse yet, be sneezed on. By the time Christmas Day rolled around, he'd be exhausted and unemployed again. That's when the light went on in my head to include ten Santas among the guests..."

"You're always thinking," the Commodore agreed. "I just hope we get enough paying passengers in the next few months to keep this ship afloat."

"It'll all be fine, Commodore," Dudley said in his most cheery cruise-director voice.

"You said we hadn't heard from all the people who won this trip at charity auctions. What's the status on that?"

"Everyone is coming -- we're just waiting to hear from one passenger. She was by far the highest bidder at an auction for this cruise. I sent her a letter by FedEx, and as an enticement offered her the remaining two staterooms so she could bring friends. She's a good person for us to have on board. She won forty million dollars in a lottery, appears on television regularly, and is a contributing columnist to a large newspaper." He did not add that he had lost the name and address of this winner -- who had attended his friend Cal Sweeney's auction -- and had just followed up on it. He almost fainted when he realized Alvirah Meehan was not only a celebrity, but a columnist.

"Splendid, Dudley, splendid. I wouldn't mind winning the lottery myself! In fact, I may need to -- "

"Good morning, Uncle Randolph."

They had not heard the Commodore's nephew, Eric, come up behind them.

Sneaky as always, Dudley thought as he turned to greet the newcomer. I swear he could make his living as a mugger.

"Good morning, my boy," the Commodore said heartily, beaming at his kinsman.

The warm smile on thirty-two-year-old Eric Manchester's face was the expression he reserved for the Commodore and other important people, Dudley observed. With his perfect tan, sun-streaked hair, and muscled body, Eric had obviously divided his time between the beach and the gym. He was wearing a Tommy Bahama floral shirt, khaki shorts, and Docksiders. The sight of him made Dudley ill. He knew that when the passengers came on board Eric would be outfitted as an officer of the ship, although God knows what office he was supposed to hold.

How come I wasn't born good-looking, with a rich uncle? Dudley wondered wistfully.

"I'm running into town, sir," Eric addressed the Commodore, totally ignoring Dudley. "Anything you need?"

"I'll let you two chat," Dudley said, anxious to get away from the farce of watching Eric pretend he was of any use to the Commodore, the Royal Mermaid, or the upcoming Santa Cruise. Eric had wormed his way onto the payroll immediately after his uncle bought the ship.

The Commodore smiled at his sister's son. "Don't need a thing I don't already have," he said heartily. "Have fun at the party you went to last night?"

Eric thought of the wad of cash he'd been given at that party, the down payment on what would make the Santa Cruise a risky and dangerous trip -- and profitable for him..."It was lots of fun, Uncle Randolph," Eric said. "I was bragging to everyone about our upcoming Santa Cruise and how generous you are helping to raise money for charities. Everyone there wished they were coming with us."

The Commodore slapped him on the back. "Good work, Eric. Get people interested in us. Get people to sign up for one of our voyages."

I did, Eric thought, but you won't know about them...He shivered slightly, yet he couldn't help but smile at the irony.

Eric's guests would be the only two paying passengers on the Santa Cruise.

Copyright © 2006 by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

Meet the Author

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has written thirty-seven suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a historical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has coauthored five more suspense novels, and also wrote The Cinderella Murder, All Dressed in White, The Sleeping Beauty Killer, and Every Breath You Take with bestselling author Alafair Burke. More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Her books are international bestsellers.
Carol Higgins Clark is the author of the bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday suspense series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several novels. She received AudioFile’s Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is CarolHigginsClark.com.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York
Date of Birth:
December 24, 1929
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979
Website:
http://www.simonsays.com/subs/index.cfm?areaid=12

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Santa Cruise (Regan Reilly Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this installment from this mother/daughter team -- I've been curious to see Regan and Jack in the marriage relationship and how their careers would complement each other. However, I feel more suspense was due in this story. Carol and Mary, if you're reading this, how about more suspense in your next book together?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received this book from my parents for Christmas (autographed by both authors!). I read it within two days. I found myself incapable of putting it down. The plot was decent and it was a very easy read. It's a little confusing because the characters in the story are a part of past novels. However, they were integrated into the story well enough that one with no previous readings from the authors (such as myself) can understand and follow the story. Definitely recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very action driven i love the stories with the charotites Awesome read the characters always keeps it entertaining and wanting more. I hope you will have out more books soon with another adventure. I have never read a bad book written by eithrr Clarks. In combined venters give us the readers a fabulose view from both angles.Please keep up the good works ? ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MARY IS AS HUMOREOUS AS EVER LOVE THE REILLYS AS USALZOXXOXO COOKIE CCTEI
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only good character development was bad nephew
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Lily1713 More than 1 year ago
This series is so boring...........I was between new releases and bored so I thought I'd read one of Ms. Clark's books.....too much nonsense for my taste.
rd-reader More than 1 year ago
I liked this book since it is a series and you already know most of the characters. It is lighthearted and funny in some places. I like it better when you don't know what is going on and you have to figure it out with the characters. In this book you know what the bad guys are doing from the beginning. That is why I gave it a 3.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun holiday read with lots of good characters.
ChargerFanDS More than 1 year ago
Pretty sophmoric and not very interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
would recommend this book. is not a book you can't put down but is very readable.
jeanie29 More than 1 year ago
enjoyed reading this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! This was a fun mystery read! I enjoyed the plot and the characters were great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this but then again i like both authors
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Inane descriptions and no where dialog and a cast none of which sparks any interest sinks from its own weight dead in the water couldnt get further than half way when abandoned ship buska
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lack of nteresting plot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story. Easy read. Interesting twists and surprises. An enjoyable holiday read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awkward descriptions and clumsy conversations. more like a sample from a creative writing evening class. shakedown cruise with non paying guests might have worked except for these guests from nook holiday selection which it is not
Anonymous More than 1 year ago