Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Cruise Ship Mystery - Mar Preston

I know that I’m a lucky woman. They say it’s better to be lucky than rich. I must have made some good choices in life, because I’ve sure as hell made some lollapalooza bad ones.

Next week I’ll embark from San Diego on a cruise ship for a six-week experience in French Polynesia. My only experience of this area of the world is singing in the chorus in my high school production of South Pacific.

I’ve been thinking so hard that steam is rising off my hair about how to take along the detectives and their consorts in the two series I write:  Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department and Detective Dex Stafford of the Kern County Sheriff’s Department.

Hmmm.  How do connive so that one of them ends up on this ship where murder and mayhem take place?

I’m sure open to suggestions. I’ve read some not-so-successful attempts to accomplish this and the detective you’re used to driving along Wilshire Boulevard or the Mil Potrero Highway is a fish out of water, so to speak.

Like all life experience, my first cruise may get filed away for later, even if I can’t contort a plot to get Mason on this ship. Perhaps a short story will come of it.

I plan to sidle up to the security chief and ask some impertinent questions just in case. Just exactly what do they do if there’s a murder at sea five days from port? Don’t you just itch to know? I once asked a hotel security chief how they enter rooms where the deadbolt is engaged. He gave me such a look. You have to be careful asking questions.

I’m going alone and that’s fine. There are 1279 other passengers on this ship, and surely I’ll like some of them and some of them will like me. I’m taking along my mah jongg card just in case. I could be coaxed into playing bridge. I hate gambling though, and I don’t drink.

If you hear of somebody jumping ship and swimming to shore in Tahiti, it’s me. But I figure if I don’t have a good time, it’s my own damn fault, don't you think?

Any cruise ship mysteries you know of?


Kathleen Kaska said...

Don't be surprised if your characters show up, Mar. I've found that mine are always enticed with the idea of adventure. Also, you might take Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. It isn't a ship, but it could offer inspiration. Enjoy your time traveling alone and just hope you don't run into a bunch of relatives on the deck.

Mar Preston said...

My characters are always with me, Kathleen. I hear them talking in the back seat when I drive to the grocery store. I'll be more quiet and still than I usually am. Wonderful things are going to happen in my head.

And I hope around me. Any cruise tips? I'm a newbie.

Barry Knister said...

In this regard, writers are all the same: they are constitutionally incapable of doing anything for its own sake. Whatever they do, wherever they go, it will morph into "material."