A nightclub singer with more than one secret hastily leaves London on The Queen Mary after her best friend’s husband is murdered…only to discover that death has followed her onboard, in this thrilling locked-room mystery.
London, 1936. Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho, and her married lover has just dumped her.
But Lena has always had a complicated life, one shrouded in mystery as a mixed-race girl passing for white in a city unforgiving of her true racial heritage. She has nothing to look forward to—until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York.
After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better, and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. But when a fellow passenger is killed in a strikingly familiar way, Lena realizes that her greatest performance won’t be for an audience, but for her life.
Miss Aldridge Regrets is an entertaining, fun mystery story. We follow Lena Aldridge, a singer who’s fallen on hard times and is promised a new life on the stage in New York. However, on the ship there, someone is murdered, and the way they died is weirdly similar to a situation Lena experienced back in London…
As no doubt many other reviews will also have noted, this book really reminded me of a golden-age-style mystery novel – set largely on the Queen Mary ship, with flashbacks to what happened in the run-up to her journey there (and what helped her along in her decision to take the plunge and leave London), we switch between the two timeframes and, as a result, there are limited ‘suspects’ in this mystery. The fact that the murder took place on the boat means it is a sort of locked-room mystery.
There’s plenty of glitz and glamour in this novel, which makes a nice change from some of the other crime novels I tend to read – Lena and her companion for the journey, Charlie, are placed on a table with a very wealthy family, and they’re based up in First Class. We see elements of Lena’s life as she sings in the Canary club in London and her friendship with Maggie, who she is now far away from, and we realise not everyone is quite as they seem…
I enjoyed this novel – because it’s quite a slow novel I found it fairly relaxing, and it was an easy read that kept me engaged throughout. I liked the historical details – never too packed in but there are references to things happening at that time in Europe and throughout the world, and the way society treats people who are different and it’s all interesting and a worthy reminder of how far we’ve come (or sadly in some cases, perhaps not so far…).
My rating: 4/5
Many thanks to the publisher, HQ, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.