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The Lusitania Murders (Disaster Series) [Kindle Edition]

Max Allan Collins
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Discover the Captivating World of Max Allan Collins
Max Allan Collins is the New York Times best-selling author of Road to Perdition and multiple award-winning novels, screenplays, comic books, and more. Browse his mysteries and thrillers.

Book Description

The Lusitania’s final voyage is a newsman’s dream. First come the torpedo warnings. Then come the murders…

Journalist and mystery writer Willard Huntington Wright boards the Lusitania in pursuit of a hot story. Under the guise of conducting interviews with prominent passengers, his real assignment is to investigate rumors that the luxury liner is carrying illicit cargo for the British war effort against Germany.

But Wright, traveling under the pseudonym S.S. Van Dine, isn’t the only passenger with an ulterior motive. Hours after the ship receives torpedo threats, three German stowaways are found murdered. And Wright suspects the deaths are part of a larger conspiracy. Comparing clues and matching wits with Detective Philomina Vance, the pair must solve the murders before the killer can sabotage the entire ship. Recreating the days up to the ship’s fatal encounter with a German U-boat, The Lusitania Murders is historical fiction at its entertaining best.

Editorial Reviews Review

Historical mysteries grounded in fact and embellished with fiction are Collins's forte, and here he takes the World War I sinking of a great Cunard liner as the canvas for a rollicking story of murder, espionage, and mayhem. Willard Wright, a critic, journalist and mystery writer (under the pseudonym of S.S. Van Dine), is supposed to be interviewing the rich and famous who are making the journey to England on the luxurious ship. But what he's really doing is investigating the sub rosa shipment of munitions by a government supposedly neutral in the European conflict. Aided by a female version of Philo Vance, Van Dine's series hero, Wright unmasks a couple of spies and a murderer and finds the munitions in plenty of time to carry on a decidedly modern affair with the beautiful and sexy Pinkerton agent, but, alas, too late to save the Lusitania from a German U-boat. A skillfully told story with all the verisimilitude and historical accuracy of earlier books in this captivating series, which gave the Titanic, Hindenburg, and Pearl Harbor disasters the same lively treatment. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

In this traditional, pre-World War I mystery, prolific Collins (The Pearl Harbor Murders, etc.) emulates the memoir-like writing style of S.S. Van Dine, a mystery writer and art critic popular in the Jazz Age, and casts him as a journalist-cum-amateur sleuth. Humbled by the need to make a buck, the ever disdainful Van Dine agrees to board the Lusitania in order to interview the ship's wealthiest passengers and investigate rumors that the opulent ocean liner is carrying munitions. While touring the vessel, Van Dine and his guide surprise three stowaways who may be German saboteurs. When one of them turns up dead, Philo Vance, the ship's dimpled detective, takes over and enlists Van Dine as her assistant and lover. Two corpses later, Philo and Van Dine deduce there's a traitor in their midst who is most likely one of the vessel's most esteemed passengers. Collins, author of several screenplays and movie/TV tie-in novels (In the Line of Fire; Road to Perdition), ably weaves a well-paced, closed-environment mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie, but the acerbic Van Dine, who scorns popular fiction and politics, will grate on readers' nerves. Nevertheless, the author succeeds in resurrecting a long-forgotten writer and re-imagining the Lusitania's final voyage.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 532 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612185169
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (December 11, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007X635CY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,319 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All-Star Jazzers Targeted For Suspense October 9, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Author Max Allan Collins is adept at transforming raw historical research and tried-and-true mystery novel techniques into an entertaining and thought-provoking adventure in "The Lusitania Murders." I highly enjoyed the character of Wright aka Van Dine and his adventures with the ship's most interesting and famous first class passengers. This is a window into the art, literary and popular culture of the Jazz Age, through figures such as a Elbert Hubbard, Vanderbilt, Frohman and Kessler, among others. WWI politics lurk in the shadows, fueling the pseudo-reality of this Agatha Christie-like mystery. The author impresses with his breadth of knowledge and does a good job of enlivening and condensing the voluminous research into a highly readable novel. I pulled this book off the shelf knowing nothing of Collins or the Lusitania and was highly impressed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Mystery July 6, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The author William Huntington Wright, traveling under his alias S.S.Van Dine (Wright and Van Dine are real people as are most of the characers in this book), is undercover for the British as a journalist on the last voyage of the Lusitania to discover if it is carrying munition for the enemy.

Along the way, he interviews the likes of Alfred Vanderbilt, Charles Forham and Elbert Hubbard. As expected, murders and espionage soon become all too common occurrences and Van Dine with the help of a female Pinkerton agent is rapidly engaged in the investigation.

The Lusitania Murders, judging by its author's notes (def. worth reading) is well-researched but lacking a tightness and suspense that keeps the reader flipping pages.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing January 8, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
Not as good as I'd hoped it would be. For one thing, this author has supposedly emulated the writing style of the real S. S. van Dine, but in my opinion, he fails at that. It's way too modern for the stuff van Dine wrote back in the 20s. . . not only the language, which doesn't even approach van Dine's style, but little things like the affair he's supposedly having with the female detective. The real S. S. van Dine would never get into that. And why the clever name of the detective Philomena Vance, obviously a play on the real van Dine's protagonist, Philo Vance? Are we to assume that the Philo Vance van Dine wrote about was this character after a sex change? I have already ordered two other Max Allan Collins books (Hindenburg and Titanic). I hope they're better than this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kis review of the "Lucy" April 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed the murder plot, kept me locked in until the end. What I most was fond of was the descriptions of the characters and all the finery of the ship. Very good history lesson as well. Five star all the way!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Routine but Mildly Entertaining March 7, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
It's unlikely that readers under 70 will have memories of S.S. Van Dine nor will anyone without special knowledge recognize other "names" in the book. Those addicted to old movies may, however, remember William Powell developing the detective character in the version he did of a Van Dine Philo Vance novel. that later made him a much bigger star in The Thin Man series. At any rate, as Collins suggests in his afterword, this is essentially an enclosed environment mystery, such as those taking place in isolated mansions, railroad trains and small islands off which nobody can get until the next trip of "the boat". Vance doesn't make a particularly good moderator nor, in fact, are there any characters we can grow close to. The beautiful Pinkerton detective assigned to the boat might have added some glamour but not as she is dealt with here by the author. In fact, I rather felt that the book was less involving than the Charlie Chan version of a shipboard version (as played by the Swedish actor, Warner Oland). On the other hand, Collins is a good, though very busy writer, so the reader is kept engaged, if not with a great deal of tension or suspense being generated. After all, we do know that, in the end, the boat is going to be torpedoed and sunk. In fact, that denouement is rather summarily treated, so don't wait breathlessly for a big moment.
I took the book as my Prime monthly dividend; as such it was a good deal. At four dollars, well, it's up to you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Max Allan Collins does it again! December 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was fascinating and well paced from beginning to end. I love the way Collins always sets up a story by his meticulous descriptions of the surroundings such as tables, chairs, walls, etc. The characters are well crafted. You come away feeling like you've known them all your life.

Just a very good historical novel. You can't wrong with this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful look into the world during WWII October 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The plot and characters was rich and the look into the world at the start of WWII was wonderful. An enjoyable read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic reading October 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book really wasn't my cup of tea. However it was an interesting period piece written in the turn of the 20th century style. Good succinct character development and excellent description of the ship, apparel, etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This wasn’t something I’d normally read
I am looking to branch out from the genre of books I normally read and in doing a search I came across this book and bought it. It wasn’t a bad book. Read more
Published 19 days ago by garcia y
4.0 out of 5 stars A REAL THRILLER
I very much enjoyed this book. I thought it a fairly easy read however did come upon some new words for my vocabulary. I looked up on line many of the Characters. Read more
Published 22 days ago by JUDITH A MCDERMEIT
4.0 out of 5 stars Very fun!
An exciting, light read. Very fun!
Published 1 month ago by Lindsey
3.0 out of 5 stars Soso
Interesting enough to keep reading, but not much more.
Published 2 months ago by Dorothy O. Dewing
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the disaster series
Written in the style of the time. Love the disaster series. Amazing how versatile Collins brings to his verse. Felt I was there. Wow!
Published 2 months ago by starfish
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well written. Believable
Published 2 months ago by Bill
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, interesting and entertaining
Easy read, interesting and entertaining. Some 'history' in there that I was not aware of - or didn't remember.
Published 2 months ago by shaffer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book for anyone who has an interest in this period of history.
Published 4 months ago by Fernie
4.0 out of 5 stars As always a carefully researched novel containing historic facts. ...
As always a carefully researched novel containing historic facts. Collins nearly always finds a way to insert
his liberal philosophy into his books. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Eddie Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written and intriguing read.
A good read. A plausible premise entertainingly presented with enough historic details to satisfy and enlighten. I've now bought the complete "disaster" series.
Published 5 months ago by Gordon R. Carmichael
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More About the Author

Max Allan Collins is a New York Times bestselling author of original mysteries, a Shamus award winner and an experienced author of movie adaptions and tie-in novels. His graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION was made into a major motion picture by Tom Hanks's production company, Playtone.

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