Sunday 1 May 2016

The true story behind the real SS Orient

“The SS Orient, kiddoes! It’s a sign from Dame Christie herself!”
Missy Corner, Murder on the Orient (SS)

At last, here it is... 

If you enjoyed the first book or are just looking for a classic whodunnit, the Agatha Christie Book Club is back, this time on a nautical adventure called Murder on the Orient (SS), now available for pre-order at Amazon.

Murder on the Orient (SS) follows our beloved book lovers as they embark on a "quiet cruise" (cough, cough) between Sydney, Australia and Auckland in New Zealand.

Naturally, the first dead body shows up within 24 hours, but it's not really until a second body goes missing—this time with a loud squeal and an ominous splash overboard in the dead of night—that the club decides to pull on their Poirot mo' and investigate.

Based on a real ship

Like all my mysteries, this one was a lot of fun to write, but it was even more fun to research. Anyone who knows me, knows I love to sink my teeth into crusty old documents, dusty old reference books, and pages and pages of web material to get at the truth.

I'm a research junkie with no desire to kick the habit.

And this book was research (Acapulco) gold. The SS Orient really does exist. Or it did, back in 1879 when it was first built. And while the steamship only sailed a mere 30 years or so, mostly between London and "the colonies", it was also literary gold as far as I was concerned.

I quickly created a modern-day replica of the SS Orient and lured my book club aboard.

Not only does the ship have the perfect name—“The SS Orient, kiddoes! It’s a sign from Dame Christie herself!”—it was the ideal setting for an old-fashioned style whodunnit, the kind of ship Dame Christie (Miss Marple or Poirot) might have voyaged on had the opportunity come up.

It's elegantly designed and decorated and has few mod cons like CCTV and WiFi to get in the way of a good story. After all, there's no chance of sneaking into someone's cabin to bump them off on the Pacific Princess what with all those pesky cameras catching your every move.

Based on a favourite story

Now that I had the setting I just needed a great plot and I may—or may not—have borrowed from the Queen of Crime. I wanted there to be echoes of the original Murder on the Orient Express without being a carbon copy. Some elements are similar, some are wildly different, and Agatha Christie aficionados will enjoy a little trainspotting as the story progresses.

Just don't expect it to be handed to you on a silver platter. Like Christie's books, I provide a stack of clues and some fishy red herrings to keep you guessing right until the 'great reveal' at the end.

Or at least that's the plan.

I'd love to hear your thoughts once you've read the book. For now, jot me a line and let me know what you think of the cover, the setting and the basic premise of the story. Or simply sign up for your early copy at Amazon here.

Murder on the Orient (SS) will be officially launched on Friday, May 13. Yep, that's black Friday.

Unlucky for some.

If you haven't read the first in the series, The Agatha Christie Book Club, grab a copy now or look out for future discounts. There'll be plenty of those.

Until then, happy (retro) reading, everyone!
xo Christina

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