12 February 2024

Death on the High Seas by Anna Legat Blog Tour!


Death on the High Seas

Maggie and Sam take a break from the murder and mayhem of Bishops Well and embark on a relaxing mid-winter cruise across the northern seas. The brochure promises smooth sailing, good food and dazzling entertainment. Sam is hoping to sprinkle the mix with romance.

But nothing goes to plan.

Maggie runs into an old lover, the mesmerising Benedict Rawbotham, who goes out of his way to sweep her off her feet. Sam is left seething with jealousy.

A mayday signal sent by a fishing boat forces the cruise liner off course. But there is something fishy about the rescued crew and Maggie insists that two young women have died on that boat. Alas, no one believes her.

Soon one of the alleged fishermen is also dead and so is one of the cruise passengers. Cordelia Conti Lang, nicknamed the Bitcoin Queen, with links to London’s criminal underworld, is found in her cabin, stabbed to death.

In pursuit of the killer, Maggie hurtles from one disaster to another and Sam begins to fear for her life. Has he taken her on a cruise to hell?

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Maggie Kaye in mortal danger

My hopes were dashed, and my worst nightmare began, the moment I opened my door.

The first thing I saw was the gory apparitions of the two young women from the fishing boat – the same ones I had seen board our ship during the rescue operation. They still hadn’t had the time or the presence of mind to restore their appearances to what one would consider their best. They were distressed, confused, wide-eyed, with their hair wet and stuck to their faces like seaweed. All in all, they resembled a pair of battered sirens, or two fish tossed out of water for long enough to be beyond resuscitation. I knew they were dead, naturally – no one else but me had seen them come onboard.

Of course those two weren’t physically in my room, but someone else was: someone who was alive and to whom their spirits had become attached. That was all I had a chance to consider before a heavy blunt object landed on my head and rendered me unconscious.

When I regained consciousness, I found myself unable to sit up. I was slumped on my back. My hands rested on my stomach, tied together with rope. My head was exploding in blinding pain. From under my brow, I could see a patch of what seemed like blood – my blood – coagulating on the fibres of the silver-grey carpet in my room.

If I weren’t so traumatised, I would have been pleasantly surprised that I was still alive. However, I was traumatised because a man with a crazed look in his eye and a small but vicious-looking axe in his hand was glaring at me from above. It was one of those fireman’s axes that one would find next to a fire extinguisher, a fire blanket and a life belt on the top deck. I was in no doubt that that axe was no child’s toy. I shut my eyes, bracing myself for the first blow.

It didn’t come.

I squinted, allowing one of my eyes to open. The man was still there, but he lowered the axe. It was dangling loosely next to his knee. If I just heaved myself up a fraction, I could grab it. Except that my hands were tied. And the man, though currently inactive, bore signs of violence: his hospital gown (for that was what he was wearing, probably courtesy of the medics) was torn and covered in blood. I surmised that it was not only his own blood coming from the cuts and gashes on his face, but also the other man’s blood – his victim’s. The man’s front was saturated in blackened crimson, from collar to hem.

Oh yes, I knew who he was and that he had slashed his fellow fisherman as well as Mrs Conti Lang with a scalpel. Only now he was holding his new choice of lethal weapon – the aforementioned axe – and I was trussed up on the floor, ready for chopping.

I contemplated screaming, and instantly gave up on the idea. My throat was still hoarse from my drinking excesses. My prospects of producing anything louder than a gravelly groan were slim. I would only provoke him. I couldn’t bear the thought of another blow to my head. So I spoke softly to distract him from his murderous intentions.

‘Could you help me up to the chair, please? I can’t do you any harm whether I sit or lie on the floor, and I’d much rather be sitting up. My head, you see, is throbbing. I had one too many last night.’

He put away his axe and leaned over to lift me up by the elbows and help me to the chair. I hunched in it, feeling like I imagine a snail would feel when its shell had been torn from its back. Still, I thanked my captor for his gallantry and requested a glass of water. Again, he obliged. I held the glass with my tied-up hands and drank slowly whilst assessing the seriousness of the situation I was in. It didn’t look good.

Although she writes in a wide range of genres, Anna Legat is best known for her DI Gillian Marsh detective series and The Shires, her cozy murder mysteries. Anna is also the author of the historical thriller, Buried in the Past. She lives near Bath.

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