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Mediterranean Grave Paperback – January 3, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Doonan's crisp and descriptive writing style makes this a very entertaining and engaging read. This is the best combination of a murder mystery and humor that I have ever read. Based on the first book, Grave Passage, I had high expectations forMediterranean Grave and my expectations were met and surpassed.

Marc Filippelli, San Francisco Book Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BookYear Mysteries (January 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983135401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983135401
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,753,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As an archaeologist and a mystery writer, William Doonan is always digging up dirt.

Born in New York, William grew up in New Jersey and Puerto Rico. He received his B.A. in anthropology from Brown University and then studied archaeology at Tulane University, investigating Maya and Central American prehistory. After years of excavations in Honduras and Costa Rica, he received his Ph.D. in 1996.

As a tenured professor of anthropology and archaeology, William has spent the last fourteen years helping students explore the structures and functions of past and contemporary cultures. As an active field archaeologist, he spent summers on Peru's north coast excavating pyramids, mummies, and strange little mud walls.

William is also a veteran cruise ship lecturer, traveling the world on some of the universe's largest floating cities, and speaking on topics as diverse as the Trojan War, Piracy in the Adriatic, and the Peopling of the Americas.

Spending long stretches of time at sea resulted in a keen interest in cruise ship culture - specifically the dynamics of the two separate but intertwined worlds on board; the passengers on one hand, and the staff and crew on the other.

Moving between these two worlds, William began paying attention to cruise ship security, and to the elaborate but often invisible ways in which this unique society manages social control, and responds to crime. This prolonged attention produced the central protagonist of William's cruise ship mystery series - Henry Grave.

Henry Grave is an investigator for the Association of Cruising Vessel Operators. A World War II P.O.W., Henry is as cunning as he is charming, and at 84 years of age, he fits right in with his fellow passengers.

Henry Grave first set sail in 2009 with Grave Passage. He returned to sea in 2011 with Mediterranean Grave. In 2012, Grave Indulgence brought Henry to the scene of a very different sort of crime.

12 million people take a cruise each year.
Most have fun.
Some die.
Henry Grave investigates.

In 2012, Doonan's archaeological mystery American Caliphate was published. Based on Doonan's excavations in Peru, American Caliphate imagines a centuries-old secret hidden under the sand, and a Middle Eastern government intent on making sure that secret stays hidden.

Doonan reimagined Peruvian archaeology in his new supernatural thriller The Mummies of Blogspace9. If you'd like to learn more than you bargained for about demons of antiquity, this is the book for you!

William Doonan lives in Sacramento, CA with his wife Carmen, and his sons Will and Huey. In his spare time, he is learning how to speak Irish.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bob TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Henry Grave is back, this time on a pocket cruise ship in the Greek Archipelago. The case is a murdered Egyptian security chief and a missing ancient artifact. Once again, Doonan has provided us with a compelling mystery and a cast of curious and idiosyncratic characters. Grave is his usual charming, quirky, confident and very cool and in-charge self. I like Grave because he's what Parker's Spenser might have been as a senior citizen. And if he had become a maritime consultant and archeology expert instead of a super fan of professional sports and fine wine. Anyway, both Grave and Spenser are very much at home with booze, broads and guns. I need that in a P.I. The last thing I want to read is a book about a politically correct private dick. A P.C.P.I.

OK, so, this book isn't quite as good as the first book but it's still worthy of four and a half stars. (I gave Grave Passage 5 stars.) I say not quite as good because in the first book, Grave Passage, we get a taste of Grave's humor and quirkiness right from the start. This one has a little bit more of a buildup, and maybe it's not quite as funny, or maybe it doesn't seem as funny because it's not as fresh as the first. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions reading Grave Passage. This one made me smile and I think I laughed out loud only twice. Also, Grave Passage had the excitement of being an introduction and almost perfect and this one is, well, not perfect. It has maybe two places where Doonan could have used another edit. For example, a character is described as sipping from a cup of coffee, and then two paragraphs later Donnan has a waiter bring the character a cup of coffee. Minor stuff.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Todd Borg on April 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How exciting to discover that octogenarian cruise-ship sleuth Henry Graves was making another appearance on the high seas, this time in the Mediterranean. Last time around, old Henry had me laughing all the way through a very Grave Passage. I wondered if he would be as funny in round two as in his debut. Turns out that his pursuit of a priceless ancient artifact hidden on an ancient cruise ship was great fun and good for countless laugh-out-loud moments. Loved the descriptions of a boat much more decrepit than our aged-yet-intrepid hero. Throw in a bunch of well-drawn characters that would make a dream party list and, as a bonus, Henry's roller derby girl recollections, and you have a winner. Well done, Mr. Doonan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. M. Grigsby on March 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since I am married to a man who is 84, and am desperate for a cruise, it took me all of about two seconds to decide to download this cozy mystery. Henry Grave is the 84 year old senior investigator for the Association of Cruising Vessel Operators who has been sent to investigate a murder onboard the Vesper, an older cruising yacht that is in the middle of a themed Mediterranean cruise. A WWII vet and survivor of a POW camp, Henry lives at Rolling Pines, "a community of active seniors" in Pennsylvania and in his spare time manages a semi-professional roller derby team, "currently in second to last place." He falls deeply in love on every cruise but is willing to flirt with any female who comes within range. He also has a fondness for vodka tonics, frequent naps, and food.

Having clearly seen better days, the Vesper, equipped to accomodate 188 passengers, is only carrying 90 passengers, most of whom are looking for "spiritual renewal." The ship had as its featured guest, a "world famous guru and best-selling author. . . His latest is `Healing the Hurting Human Heart.'"

The ship was also carrying a valuable Minoan cup known as the Pasiphae Vessel from its place of discovery in Alexandria to Athens for restoration. An Egyptian federal agent was assigned to accompany it on its journey. But the agent is killed and the cup has disappeared. Henry Grave's job is to find the cup and the murderer.

During the course of the search and the cruise, wonderfully strange characters are introduced and examined by this charming, seemingly befuddled gentleman with his fondness for the ladies and vodka tonics. It was good fun, and included some laugh out loud moments that surprised me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Hughbanks on April 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Henry Grave's life experiences are just as interesting as the mysteries he solves. From WWII vet to Roller Derby owner, he approaches every day with an ability to get out of danger despite his age, a love of women...and often a few drinks. In Mediterranean Grave, Henry seems not to have changed his personality since the first book Grave Passage, and he is equally entertaining. The murders he is there to solve are plausible if unusual, and he takes us on believable plot twists while introducing us to the vagaries of the Cruise industry. Depending on which identification he pulls from his wallet, he can take the reader on any number of interesting travels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Meyer on March 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the third Henry Grave mystery I have read by this author. All of them were strangely unique and written with great humor. Here you have an 80 plus year old man that is underestimated by most people he meets. He appears to approach each problem with putting his own needs before his job. You have him taking naps and seeking food and drinks during most of his "working" hours. The reader soon finds that Henry sees himself as a great lover and world champion tango dancer and guess what? He convinced me! His character would appear to be that of a friendly, clumsy and naive old man, but you soon find out there is a very clever and dangerous person underneath this role. It is somewhat similar to the character Peter Falk played in the Columbo episodes. He appears inept at everything he does, to include misplacing his investigator credentials each time he introduces himself. I think anyone interested in humorous detective novels and cruise ship settings would enjoy this novel. I have no hesitation giving all three of these novels a five star rating.
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