This mystery just isn't that great. The characters feel flat and unnatural, the dialogue is stilted, and the two detectives are oddly amateurish. Despite their experience (Genevieve Masefield says she has been doing this for 18 months at one point), they both judge suspects based on how they like them, rather than evidence. It seems incredible that a murder could be concealed for any significant length of time, although I suppose it's possible on a ship of that size.
Even the odd historical note, like playing football on roller skates, doesn't fit with the story. George Dillman's political diatribes against imperialism also sound out of place. There's not enough historical and nautical detail to interest those who like historical fiction and not enough mystery to interest the mystery-lover. An altogether unsatisfying read.
For a fascinating, well-written, and intriguing mystery aboard ship in the Roaring Twenties, try Kerry Greenwood's Death by Water, a Phryne Fisher mystery.
Verdict: Don't waste your time.
ISBN: 0312307934; Published April 2005 by St. Martin's; Borrowed from the library