A Cruise to Die For

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A Cruise to Die For

An Alix London Mystery, #2

Alix London is an Art Historian with a sharp eye at spotting forgeries. She agrees to go undercover on the yacht of a Greek Tycoon, Panos Papadakis, for FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth. Panos has long been on the FBI's watch list as a suspect in a multimillion dollar PONZI scheme. Ted wants Alix to ferret out information to prove their case against Panos. As the employee of Papadakis she will give the occasional art lecture to his well-heeled guest during the long weekend cruise where Papadakis will auction off a portion of his art collection. The lowest starting bid is $980,000.00 (way outside of my range). Each of the guests has been vetted and checked out from top to bottom to ensure their ability to afford the prices.

As Papadakis' yacht meanders in Agean waters Alix finds not all the paintings are by the masters. Then murder is to be found among the Monet and Van Gogh. Danger mounts as Alix investigates the suspects and tries to get the goods on her boss as well for Ted. Can Alix survive the weekend or will she be the next still life to be on display?

I found A Cruise to Die For intriguing. There are some unusual and delightful characters. My one fault would be Papadakis's speech. His grammar is off and yet he is portrayed as a perfectionist. I would imagine him having a thorough understanding of the English language and would have practiced it until he could be able to understand every nuance of American idioms. That being said I found myself looking forward to conversations between him and others just so I could enjoy the cadence of his speech. Alix's pluckiness is a thing to behold. Her love of art is the core of her character. Her loyalty and honesty above question. If I had a question about a piece of art she would be one on my speed dial to check it out.

You will find this second book in the series of this acclaimed writing duo well worth your time and money. If you have not read Book 1, A Dangerous Talent, yet you may want to pick up a copy as well. Each of the novels can be read as a standalone, but it is also nice to see how the characters have evolved over time by reading them in order.

Book Blurb for A Cruise to Die For

This should be the cushiest job Alix London’s ever had.

The second Alix London mystery finds the art restorer in a world brimming with idle luxury, spectacular locations, and deadly intrigue.

Surrounded by art and wealth and the sun-drenched Greek isles, she’s aboard a sumptuous mega-yacht with no responsibilities save the occasional lecture to the guests of her temporary employer, Panos Papadakis, one of the world's richest men. But there’s a catch: Papadakis has long been suspected of being at the center of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme and Alix is actually there as an undercover operative of FBI special agent Ted Ellesworth, a member of the Bureau’s Art Crime Team. They hope Alix can gather the inside information they need to finally put the cagey Papadakis away.

Alix’s exposure to the enormous wealth of high-end collectors and the shadier aspects of the art trade—the avarice, naked greed, and ingenious scams—somehow brings her closer to her charming, "reformed" rogue of a father, and helps crystalize in her own mind just where she fits into the mix.

Moguls, murders, a forged Manet, and the Albanian mafia all play a role and send this pleasure cruise into brutally dangerous waters.

Set on the Aegean—Homer's fabled "wine-dark sea"—with stops at enchanted islands where ancient legends still live, A Cruise to Die For delivers a witty blend of suspense and mystery, as well as an insider’s take on the contemporary art world and its eccentric characters. It’s all served up with the style and sophistication with which Charlotte and Aaron Elkins have rewarded mystery readers for the past 30 years.

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2013 4.00