Statistically, we’re not all going to enjoy every book. There are so many books published per year that you’re bound to come across plenty that sounds great but just aren’t your thing. I don’t really request things from NetGalley very often but I went a bit mad towards the end of last year. There were just so many books that sounded really great. I’m slowly trying to catch up but it’s taking some time. Anyone who has been keeping up with my Sunday Rundowns may well be sick of seeing this book title. So am I. It’s been weeks. Thankfully, I finished it this weekend. I’ve never been happier to put a book down.
Normally, I would DNF a book that was this much of a struggle to read but I pushed through to the end. I wish I hadn’t. It’s not that the writing of the book is terrible but it’s just kind of dull. Very disappointing because I was so excited to read this. I requested it on NetGalley because it sounded like my thing. What more could I want than a murder mystery set on a luxury liner in the 30s? Well, as it turns out, a lot more. It took me almost 3 weeks to get through it because I just didn’t want to read it. Probably because nothing happens for the first half of the book.
The premise of the book is quite simple. Lena, a mixed-race singer in a nightclub, is offered a dream job in New York. She sets off on the Queen Mary ship and finds herself mixing with the rest of the first-class passengers. It all seems like heaven until a passenger is poisoned. It’s an unfortunate event and a shock for everyone. However, it’s even more disturbing for Lena because her former boss was killed in a very similar way only a few days before. What has Lena walked into?
I will say that there are some fun things about this book. I liked the way that it tries to bring in race and its place in society at the time. Plus, Lena’s romance with the ship’s Black band was a sweet distraction from the main plot. My only problem is that I was bored. I didn’t appreciate the way that the narrative flipped between the past and present. I realise that it was meant to create tension but it just ruined the pace. Rather than hiding the truth, I think it made it more obvious. Really, in crime thrillers, I think it’s just a very poor way to prolong the reveal and it never works.
It tends to highlight everything that the writer is trying to hide and makes it easier to put all of the pieces together. I didn’t think that this book was much of a mystery and the identity of the killer is obvious fairly early on. This isn’t helped by the random moments when the killer starts monologuing. It makes no sense with the rest of the narrative and I don’t think it adds to anything. Again, it just makes it more obvious who the killer is. Why would you include something that takes the mystery away from your story?
This whole book just felt a little half-hearted. All of the themes that were brought to the forefront were never taken very far. The characters all lacked depth and weren’t very engaging. The story lacked interest and excitement. It just dragged on and on. Then the ending was so unsatisfactory and rendered everything that had come before meaningless. It was senseless. Then there’s the endless description of every single dinner party. Why spend so much time on these unnecessary details when you don’t bother to build the mystery element?
This is clearly meant to be Death on the Nile meets Titanic but it’s such a disappointment. The narrative is way too long, which definitely makes me question what the editor was thinking. There is so much unrelated stuff that shouldn’t be included here. The setting is totally wasted. There was no real need to be on a boat. There was no tension or real threat of danger. The main character is badly written, the dialogue is odd and the ending is senseless. Miss Aldridge Regrets just goes to show that writing a murder mystery isn’t as easy as everyone thinks.