Synopses & Reviews
From the pier a massive boom swung boxcar-sized containers onto the ship. First, they filled the freighter's hold, then were stacked three and four high on the main deck. Instead of the officers and crew creating a welcoming, partylike atmosphere for arriving passengers, this crew was busy working.
Angelina Amalfi, looked up at the freighter with trepidation. The Valhalla wasn't the least bit inviting. Dark gray: and white, its, main deck was long and flat, and at the back was a huge structure several stories high that, resembled a boxy office. building -- except for, the bridge that jutted out like wings across the very top. This vacation wasn't going to be anything like the luxury cruises she'd been on before.
"Here we are," she said with a quick glance at Homicide Inspector Paavo Smith.
"Great, Angie. Super. Let's go." He was smiling. Sort of Actually, his mouth was plastered into the same strange smile he'd worn since he picked her up that morning.
She stared at him as he took her arm and helped her up the steep gangway. Paavo Smith rarely smiled, and he had never called anything super in all the time that she'd known him. He was careful, logical, cautious, and closemouthed.
But then, maybe he had just decided to relax and enjoy this cruise, their first real vacation together. If so, that was just super.
Stepping off the gangway onto the main deck, she felt as if she'd been plunged into a black-and-white movie. The flooring was the color of charcoal, the walls were a grayish white, and metallic gray paint covered everything else. Even the ropes had a grayish cut.
Behind a gray metal table. stood a tall, middleaged man wearing a black, uniform with goldbands on the cuffs of the jacket. A few blond strands of hair were slicked across the top of his head. "I am First Mate Hans Johansen," he said, extending his hand in greeting, "Welcome to the Valhalla." His voice had a Scandinavian lilt.
"Thank you," Angie replied as Johansen gave her and Paavo a packet of information about the ship. He handed Paavo two sets of keys to their cabin.
"You won't need the keys for several days, though. We never lock our cabins while we're at sea," Johansen stated, standing a little taller as he spoke. "Only in port. We trust each other. That's the way of freighter life."
Angie glanced at Paavo, thinking about a pair of diamond earrings she'd brought along for nightlife in Acapulco, their destination, but he didn't notice. He continued to smile vacantly.
"You do have a safe for valuables, don't you?" she asked the first mate.
"We do" Johansen replied, his mouth taking on a wry twist. "Trust is one thing, but too much temptation is foolhardy."
A youthful steward with dark hair and deepset, bedroomy eyes hurried over to them and stopped in front of Angie. "Allow me to show YOU to your cabin," he said, then picked up. Angie's carry-on. He gave a cursory nod to Paavo before turning all his attention to her again. "My name is Julio Rodriguez." He clutched her bag against his heart. "I am from Chile, and, I am so happy to be of service to you.
"Thank you," Angie said, taking Paavo's arm. He seemed to scarcely notice.
"Watch your step, senorita." Julio, walking backward, nimbly stepped over, an air vent and a coil of rope. "All, these hatches and vents and lines are easy to trip over."
But he didn't. She was impressed.
Sven Ingerson, theValhalla's other steward, stood on the main deck watching the freighter's, flew passengers check in. One hand gripped the rail, while the other pressed hard against his bilious stomach.
He'd been sick all night but hadn't said anything about it., He didn't want to be sent to a doctor or hospital and be unable to make this voyage. He, needed to be on it. He squinted against the glare of the sun. The headache he'd awakened with was growing worse by the minute, and his stomach continued to rumble.
A spasm of nausea rolled over him. The botle of Pepto-Bismol he'd drunk hadn't helped at all. He couldn't remember ever feeling this weak or dizzy. It had to have been the pickled herring he ate yesterday, given to him by a young, pretty woman he'd met in Berkeley. When she'd offered it to him, she'd said her mother had canned it that her mother was Norwegian -- just Iike he was. The bitch. What had she put into the herring? Knowing Berkeley, it could have been some hallucinogen. But he wasn't feeling high. He was feeling miserable.
Maybe this was his payback for combining pleasure with the business that had taken him to Berkeley in the first place.
He wondered if it was smart not to seek medical help. But he'd never failed on a job yet. Mr. Reliable, they called him. Why not? Easy job, easy money. And he wasn't talking about being a steward.
He wiped the perspiration from his brow. This was one job he didn't want to mess up or...
In this 6th delightful culinary mystery from Joanne Pence, dilettante chef Angie Amalfi plans a romantic cruise with her hunky boyfriend, but hits rough water when murder becomes part of the itinerary.
Food writer and culinary entrepreneur Angie Amalfi imagined a high seas cruise aboard a ship bound for Acapulco with her homicide detective boyfriend Paavo Smith would be heaven. With no crowds or pending police business, it might even provide Paavo the perfect opportunity to propose.
But Angie's "Love Boat" fantasy starts springing leaks almost immediately, beginning with the cook's bizarre attempt to jump ship...in the middle of the ocean! Add an oddball collection of fellow passengers, yawningly unimaginative onboard meals, Paavo's increasingly bizarre behavior, and the fact that someone's been rifling through her luggage, and Angie's soon ready to leap overboard herself. But it's not until she offers to help out in the galley and murder is abruptly added to the menu that Angie finds herself heading into very dangerous waters indeed.
A Taste For Murder
Food writer Angie Amalfi's long-awaited vacation with her detective boyfriend Paavo Smith has all the ingredients of a romantic getaway'-a sail to Acapulco aboard a freighter, no crowds, no homicide department worries, a red bikini. It's the perfect scenario for a proposal.
But it isn't long before Angie's Love Boatfantasies are headed for stormy seas-'the cook tries to jump off the ship, Paavo is acting mighty strange, the fellow passengers are an odd lot, Angie's luggage is rifled through, and the meals are terribly unimaginative. She's willing to help out in the kitchen, but when murder is added to the menu, Angie thinks maybe the cook had the right idea.
Food writer and culinary entrepreneur Angie Amalfi imagined a high-seas cruise aboard a ship bound for Acapulco with her homicide detective boyfriend Paavo Smith would be heaven. With no crowds or pending police business, it might even provide Paavo the perfect opportunity to propose. But Angie's Love Boat fantasy starts springing leaks almost immediately, beginning with the cook's bizarre attempt to jump ship . . .in the middle of the ocean! Add an oddball collection of fellow passengers, yawningly unimaginative onboard meals, Paavo's increasingly peculiar behavior, and the fact that someone's been rifling through her luggage, and Angie's soon ready to leap overboard herself. But it's not until she offers to help out in the galley and murder is abruptly added to the menu that Angie finds herself heading into very dangerous waters indeed.
About the Author
Joanne Pence was born and raised in San Francisco. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley with a master's degree in journalism, Joanne has taught school in Japan, written for magazines, and worked for the federal government. She now lives in Idaho with her family, which includes a multitude of pets.