Friday, March 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Shore Excursion by Marie Moore

Travel agents are a vanishing breed, but Sidney Marsh, a New York transplant from Mississippi, is holding her ground--at least on land. She is the tour leader on a cruise through Scandinavia for a group of eccentric senior citizens who call themselves the High Steppers. Sidney expects her days to be filled with long meals, shopping expeditions and visits to museums, churches and fjords. But this cruise is anything but routine. There is a killer on board, targeting the High Steppers and quite possibly herself.

After the first suspicious death, the captain and his crew are grimly determined to carry on as usual. Disgusted with their inaction, Sidney decides to take matters into her own hands and launch her own investigation. She enlists the halfhearted help of her friend and business partner, the flamboyant and fun-loving Jay Wilson. Suspects abound. What about those two handsome young men who stay mysteriously aloof? One of them has his eye on Sidney. So does another passenger, far too charming and again too young to fit the "High Stepper" mold. Then there's Captain Vargos, the arrogant ladies' man whose plans to thwart Sidney's investigation might include seduction.

Who is that crew member shadowing Sidney? Is the theater really haunted? Even the High Steppers themselves are not as predictable or harmless as they seem. The closer Sydney gets to the truth, the less she understands. Shore Excursion is the first book in a new mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Sidney Marsh.

Marie Moore Bio:

Shore Excursion is Marie Moore’s first novel, but not her first writing experience, and like Sidney Marsh, she is a native Mississippian. She graduated from Ole Miss, married a lawyer in her hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly newspaper, first as a writer and later as Managing Editor. She wrote hard news, features and a weekly column, sold ads, did interviews, took photos, and won a couple of MS Press Association awards for some of her stories.

In 1985, Marie left the newspaper to open a retail travel agency. She completed agency and computer training with Airlines Reporting Corporation, Delta Airlines and TWA, earned her CTC (Certified Travel Counselor) designation, and joined the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). For the next 15 years, she managed her agency, sold travel, escorted group tours, sailed on 19 cruises, and visited over 60 countries. Much of the background of Shore Excursion comes from that experience.

Marie also did location scouting and worked as the local contact for several feature films, including Heart of Dixie, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, and Robert Altman’s Cookie’s Fortune.

In mid-1999, because of her husband's work, Marie sold the travel agency and moved to Jackson, MS, then New York City, Anna Maria Island, FL, and Arlington, VA. She and her husband now live in Memphis, TN and Holly Springs, MS.

Marie is a member of Sisters in Crime.

This was a delightful little mystery that will amuse most lovers of the cozy mystery genre and of Agatha Christie’s stories.

What I especially enjoyed about the book was that the murders take place above a cruise ship, which means that there is only a set amount of people who could be the culprits. I’ve always enjoyed mysteries like that. Although this one is not quite up to Christie’s cleverness, it did remind me a bit of Murder on the Orient Express. Something else that made it an interesting read, much more so than other mysteries I’ve read in the past, is that the author added a bunch of fascinating little facts about the travel business and about travel agents.

To me, however, the ending was a bit abrupt. This is not unusual in this genre, but still, I’d rather have a longer book than one that rushed through the conclusion, especially when the author has done such a nice job of building atmosphere. I think that was the biggest fault I saw, apart from a few grammatical mistakes.

I can easily recommend this to mystery lovers. It’d make a great beach read. I, for one, will be looking forward to the next book in the series.


Tribute Books said...

Valentina - what an apt comparison to "Murder on the Orient Express." Where can you go when trapped on a moving vessel? Thanks for the review.

Marie Moore said...

Thanks, Valentina, for your review and for the comparison of my work, in any way, to the great Agatha Christie! What a compliment! I have always been an admirer of her writing and I will be a program panelist, speaking on travel mysteries, at the 24th annual Malice Domestic Conference in Bethesda, MD, on April 29. Malice Domestic honors the tradtional mystery in the style of Dame Agatha.
I am so glad you liked Shore Excursion and hope you will join Sidney and me on all her new adventures! Thanks!