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Santa Cruise
Cover of Santa Cruise
Santa Cruise
A Holiday Mystery at Sea
America's Queen of Suspense—Mary Higgins Clark—joins forces with her daughter Carol—bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries—in this fast-paced novel set on a special holiday cruise that sets sail from Miami the day after Christmas.
Alvirah Meehan, lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, and private investigator Regan Reilly are guests, along with their spouses, on the "Santa Cruise." The cruise is a gift from Commodore Randolph Weed to a select group that "has made the world a better place." His largesse is prompted by the desire to create a buzz about his new cruise ship, the Royal Mermaid, as she sets out on her maiden voyage.

Alvirah, Regan, and her new husband Jack—head of the NYPD Major Case Squad—are joined as guests on the cruise by a mystery fan convention, celebrating "a ghost of honor," as well as ten men who donated time playing Santa Claus, now hoping for a restful post-season. That tranquility vanishes when two Santa suits disappear from a locked room, a storm develops, and an attempt is made on a passenger's life. As the Royal Mermaid sails through troubled waters, Alvirah, Regan, and Jack uncover clues that lead them to dangerous criminals not on the original guest list...
America's Queen of Suspense—Mary Higgins Clark—joins forces with her daughter Carol—bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries—in this fast-paced novel set on a special holiday cruise that sets sail from Miami the day after Christmas.
Alvirah Meehan, lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, and private investigator Regan Reilly are guests, along with their spouses, on the "Santa Cruise." The cruise is a gift from Commodore Randolph Weed to a select group that "has made the world a better place." His largesse is prompted by the desire to create a buzz about his new cruise ship, the Royal Mermaid, as she sets out on her maiden voyage.

Alvirah, Regan, and her new husband Jack—head of the NYPD Major Case Squad—are joined as guests on the cruise by a mystery fan convention, celebrating "a ghost of honor," as well as ten men who donated time playing Santa Claus, now hoping for a restful post-season. That tranquility vanishes when two Santa suits disappear from a locked room, a storm develops, and an attempt is made on a passenger's life. As the Royal Mermaid sails through troubled waters, Alvirah, Regan, and Jack uncover clues that lead them to dangerous criminals not on the original guest list...
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    Chapter One

    Monday, December 19th

    Randolph Weed, self-styled commodore, stood on the deck of his pride and joy, the Royal Mermaid, an old ship he had bought and paid a fortune to refurbish and on which he intended to spend the rest of his life playing host to both friends and paying guests. Docked in the Port of Miami, the ship was being readied for its maiden voyage, the "Santa Cruise," a four-day trip in the Caribbean with one stop at Fishbowl Island.

    Dudley Loomis, his forty-year-old PR man, who would also serve as cruise director, joined Randolph on the deck. He took a deep breath of the refreshing breeze blowing off the Atlantic Ocean and sighed happily. "Commodore, I have e-mailed all the major news organizations once again to let them know about this unique and wonderful maiden voyage. I began the release, 'On December 26th, Santa is turning in his sleigh, giving Rudolph and the other reindeer some time off, and taking a cruise. It's the Santa Cruise -- Commodore Randolph Weed's gift to a select group of people who have in their own unique way made the world a better place this past year.' "

    "I've always liked giving gifts," the Commodore said, a smile on his weathered but still handsome sixty-three-year-old face. "But people didn't always appreciate it. My three ex-wives never understood what a deep and caring man I am. For goodness' sake, I gave my last wife my Google stock before it went public."

    "That was a terrible mistake," Dudley said solemnly, shaking his head. "A terrible mistake."

    "I don't begrudge her the money. I've made and lost fortunes. Now I want to give back to others. As you know, this Santa Cruise was created to raise money for charity, and celebrate those who have given of themselves."

    "It was my idea," Dudley reminded him.

    "True. But the money to pay for this cruise is coming out of my pocket. I spent considerably more than I expected in order to make the Royal Mermaid the beautiful ship she has become. But she's worth every penny." He paused. "At least I hope she is."

    Dudley Loomis held his tongue. Everyone had warned the Commodore that he'd be better off having a new ship built than dumping a fortune into this old tub, but I do admit it cleaned up rather well, Dudley told himself. He had been cruise director on mammoth vessels where he had to worry about several thousand guests, many of whom he found intensely irritating. He would now deal with only four hundred passengers, most of whom would probably be happy to sit on deck and read instead of having entertainment shoved down their throats twenty-four hours a day. Dudley had come up with the idea of the Santa Cruise when reservations for passage on the Royal Mermaid were almost nil. He was a PR man right down to the rubber soles of his yachting shoes.

    "We should have a free cruise the day after Christmas to get the kinks out of the ship before any paying passengers, or reviewers, come on board," he had told his boss. "You'll donate passage to charities and do-gooders. It'll only be a few days, and in the long run it will pay for itself with the good publicity I'll get for you. By the time our official maiden voyage rolls around on January 20th, we'll be turning people away. You wait and see."

    The Commodore had needed a few minutes to think about it. "A totally free cruise?"

    "Free!" Dudley had insisted. "Everything for free!"

    The Commodore had winced. "The bar, too?"

    "Everything! From soup to nuts!"

    Eventually, the Commodore agreed. The special Santa Cruise would set sail in one week, the day after Christmas, and return to Miami four days later.

    Now, as the two men walked along the freshly scrubbed deck, they went...

About the Author-
  • The #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has written forty suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a his­torical novel, a memoir, and two children's books. With bestselling author Alafair Burke she writes the Under Suspicion series including The Cinderella Murder, All Dressed in White, The Sleeping Beauty Killer, Every Breath You Take, and You Don't Own Me. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has coauthored five more suspense novels. More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Her books are international bestsellers.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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A Holiday Mystery at Sea
Mary Higgins Clark
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