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Murder on the Lusitania Mass Market Paperback – October, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Allen kicks off a projected series of mysteries set on famous ocean liners with this well-crafted high society whodunit. Suave, smart and handsome, George Porter Dillman seems to be the perfect man for his job as the Cunard Line's private detective. Posing as a first-class passenger on the Lusitania's 1907 maiden voyage, he ingratiates himself with ship's surgeon Lionel Osborne, flirts mildly with young Violet Rymer, assists the troubled American Ellen Tolley, befriends the adventurous Genevieve Masefield and keeps an eye on potential card sharks and con men. Meanwhile, pushy journalist Henry Bancroft tries hard to scoop his rivals, and the aristocrats who populate the book's margins pursue their various schemes. It's not long before Dillman discovers difficult puzzles to solve. Someone has snatched the secret diagrams that explain the Lusitania's wiring, and someone--the same culprit?--has stolen a Stradivarius from world-famous violinist Itzak Weiss. When Dillman discovers Bancroft murdered by a grisly blow to the head, only he can find the real killer. Allen won't win awards for his prose ("Having been given so little in the way of evidence, he now felt that he had far too much and it was causing confusion"). He will, however, please some fans of historical drawing-room murder, especially the Anglophiles. With little violence, much description of jewelry, some intrigue and plenty of stiff upper lips, Allen's confection may overcome its predictable elements to find warm admirers. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The year is 1907, and Cunard Line's gleaming luxury liner Lusitania is about to set forth on her maiden voyage, which the British hope will shatter the North Atlantic speed record and provide bragging rights over the Germans. To make certain everything remains swell for the swells in first class, Cunard has yacht-builder-turned-actor-turned-detective George Porter Dillman, a Yank, planted among them. The passenger list is a who's who of the usual suspects, including sporty spinster sisters, some rich folks whose daughter loves a glib Irishman who loves her money, a father-daughter team who are not what they appear to be, a pushy journalist, and a beautiful woman on the make for a nobleman with a beautiful bankroll. Besides the murder in the title, there is enough grand larceny to keep Dillman busy and enough of everything else to keep readers entertained. Allen's writing style harks back to the classic English mysteries of the first half of this century--and that's pretty good harking. Budd Arthur --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312975716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312975715
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,658,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Roger Long on December 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you are a murder-mystery fan, it does not get any better than "Murder on the Lusitania." The atmosphere, characters, plot, denouement are all just perfect. Supposedly the author has written other mysteries under a pseudonym. Does anyone know the name of his other mysteries? I would read them all. Usually I have figured out the plot about half way through a mystery. I'm not unique. Most readers of mysteries can do the same. But this time I was wonderully misdirected. As the pace picked up about half way through, I found myself enjoying the tale immensely and hoping beyond hope that the writer wasn't going to screw up the ending. He didn't. Thank you, Mr. Allen. And Bravo!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Murder on the Lusitania is much different from the other three novels in this series. As a reader, I found myself caught up in the excitement of the launching of the then world's largest liner in 1907, a ship whose subsequent history would play a large role in the U.S. entering World War I. Having been on today's huge liners, I was interested in how the Lusitania was different, especially in how its power was supplied (lots of backbreaking work with coal being loaded into the steam engines). Having watched a lot of Masterpiece Theater, I was inevitably interested in how the upper-class English people would act on the ship. So the book had a lot of potential going for it. Those elements worked well for me.
The story itself turned out to be based on a motive that seems very lame and unlikely. That caused me to grade the book down.
For those who like romance with their sleuthing, you will probably enjoy the process by which Cunard detective, George Porter Dillman, becomes acquainted with the beautiful and mysterious Englishwoman, Ms. Genevieve Masefield. She spurns him at first, and only unpleasant circumstances for Ms. Masefield cause that situation to change.
If you just want to read the best book to date in the series, I suggest you read Murder on the Minnesota instead. It's quite fun, and much better done than Murder on the Lusitania. If you do decide to read Murder on the Lusitania, the next book in the series is Murder on the Mauretania. If you like Murder on the Lusitania, you'll be sure to love Murder on the Mauretania.
After you finish this book, think about when you may have drawn a conclusion about someone based on a single glance or quick encounter. Did you later take the time to be sure you were right in your assessment? If not, take that time now. You may be missing someone wonderful!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Larson on September 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Conrad Allen's Murder on the Lusitania on a whim and I was not disappointed. The setting is fantastic with Allen's descriptions of life aboard the maiden voyage of the Lusitania, and the characters are just as fascinating. Following a large contingent of first class passengers we meet The Rymers, the Tolley's and a pushy journalist Bancroft; we learn what the good life aboard a luxury liner is all about.

Following the Ship's detective, George Porter Dillman, who is posing as a first class passenger, we first meet all of the relevant parties, and learn about them prior to the crime of (as the title states) murder. There are so many red herrings and twists that this one will keep you guessing until the end.

I'm glad I picked up this book and I am sure that you will enjoy it as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "swartout5" on August 13, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a light and entertaining read perfect for a day at the beach. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. The two main characters, George and Genevieve, remind me of the leads in the Lord Peter Whimsey series. It is so nice to read a mystery that doesn't depend on shock and gore to get its point across.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on June 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen is the first book in the Shipboard Mystery series starring George Porter Dillman and Genevieve Masefield. Dillman is hired as security by the owners of the Lusitania to make sure that her maiden voyage goes smoothly. His job is to fit in and keep any crimes to a minimum, but when some blueprints show up missing, an annoying reporter turns up dead, and a Stradivarius is stolen, everyone's secrets start coming out and Dillman has more than he bargained for. This book is full of lots of great detail about the real luxury liner as well as bits about etiquette from Edwardian times. The dialogue is very clever, especially the repartee between Dillman and Masefield. I was a bit disappointed in the revelation of the bad guys, especially because their motivation was glossed over without real thought, and some of the dialogue during the climax from the villains seemed horribly clichéd, of the `let me tell you my whole horrible scheme while I have you tied up' variety. Surprisingly, Allen allows some subplots to be carried through without touching the main story, which on a huge passenger ship makes perfect sense. I look forward to reading the next in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barbara J. Frayser on February 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Murder on the Lusitania is set in 1907 during the maiden voyage of the luxury liner. Undercover detective, George Porter Dillman, easily socializes with the elite first class passengers; while at the same time, keeping a lookout for professional gamblers and thieves who prey on the wealthy.
A violent murder and several thefts send the ship's officers reeling, but the ever calm Mr. Dillman assures them he will have the criminal in hand, discreetly, before the ship reaches New York.
The characters are colorful and the dialogue, reminiscent of the times, sparkles. The red herrings are obvious but doesn't detract from this fast pleasant read. We will definitely recommend Murder on the Lusitania to our customers and are looking forward to the next book in this series.
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