Edith/Maddie with our last historical mystery author this month. Erica Ruth Neubauer is a fabulous writer and brings us stories about her 1920s traveling heroine, Jane Wunderley.
Check out Erica Ruth’s latest, Danger on the Atlantic – and the fun research she did for the book! I love these books, and I know you will, too. Be sure you read down for a giveaway.
Here’s the blurb. Atlantic Ocean, 1926: Voyaging from Southampton to New York, self-reliant American widow Jane Wunderly is determined to prove herself a worthy investigator on the stately ship—even awkwardly going undercover as the fashionable wife of her magnetic partner, Mr. Redvers. Few details are known about the rumored German spy the duo have been tasked with identifying among fellow passengers, but new troubles unfold once wealthy newlywed Vanessa FitzSimmons announces the sudden disappearance of her husband at sea . . .
Miles Van de Meter, the man Vanessa rushed to marry in Monte Carlo, has allegedly vanished into thin air along with his luggage. Redvers guesses the shifty heiress may be weaving tall tales for fun between flutes of champagne, yet Jane isn’t convinced—not after the stunning murder of a trusted acquaintance sends them into uncharted waters. Facing two dangerous mysteries and a boat load of suspects, Jane must navigate a claustrophobic quest for answers before the culprits can slip from her grasp on land . . . or, worse, ensure she and Redvers never reach their destination.
Taking a transatlantic cruise in the 1920’s sounds as though it was awfully glamorous—it was the golden age of cruising after all. So it was a bit of a no-brainer when I was looking for a setting for my third book DANGER ON THE ATLANTIC (coming out tomorrow!) to set it on one of the enormous ships. Of course, in order to get a feel for what it was like, I needed to take a cruise across the North Atlantic myself, and I was lucky to get one in right before the global pandemic kicked off.
I’d never taken a proper cruise before. The closest I’d come was doing a Nile River cruise while doing research for my first book, but getting on the Queen Mary II was not at all the same thing, both in scale and experience. My cruise down the Nile was warm and there was a lot of soaking in the sun. Let me tell you what there’s not on the North Atlantic in November—sun. Using any of the pools was out, and even spending time on our balcony wasn’t much fun—it was wet and slippery from the grey skies overhead.
I don’t suffer from motion sickness, but during our first night we hit some rough water.
By morning the bobbing up and down of that giant ship had my stomach feeling quite disagreeable about the trip, although once I had a ginger beer in the lounge and spent some time watching the horizon, I felt much better.
But there were plenty of positives. The food was fantastic. We only tried the buffet option one time (and I ate entirely too much gourmet cheese that night) and used the dining room for the rest of our meals where the options and presentation couldn’t be beat. Every meal was an absolute delight, as was much of the entertainment we enjoyed on board. There was a 1940’s dance with big band music, live performances of both singers and music as well as a movie theater where I caught up on some movies I’d been meaning to see. You could take yoga classes or fencing lessons—there seemed to be something for everyone.
All in all, it was a fun and informative trip—I was able to get a real taste of what conditions on a large ship would have been like for Jane, although I think her cruise would have been much more glamourous than mine. I’m very fortunate that I’ve so far been able to research the exciting things I have my protagonist do—and you can bet I’m already planning the next!
Readers: Have you ever taken a cruise? What are your favorite ways to travel? I’ll give away a copy of Danger on the Atlantic (as soon as my box of books arrives) to one commenter.
Erica Ruth Neubauer is the Agatha Award-winning author of the Jane Wunderly Mysteries, as well as an Anthony Award and Lefty Award finalist. She spent eleven years in the military, nearly two as a Maryland police officer, and one as a high school English teacher, before finding her way as a writer. She has been a reviewer of mysteries and crime fiction for publications such as Publishers Weekly and Mystery Scene Magazine for several years, and she’s a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Erica Ruth lives in Milwaukee, WI. Visit her at Erica Ruth Neubauer.