DEATH CRUISE, is made up of 22 short mystery stories that, as you would expect, center about cruises. Each story is written by a different author, each using the cruise theme as a common thread to tie the stories together. The styles and entertainment values vary widely, as do the periods in which they were written. These vary from Agatha Christie's story written in 1936, to the bulk of the rest that were evidently written in 1999, the year this collection was copyrighted.
I wish that I could say that they were uniformly good, but I'm afraid that I can't because, at least in my opinion, they're not. In fact, they're all over the place.
Let's start with Agatha Christie's "Problem at Sea." I don't think that it has held up very well with the passage of time. I can't reveal what it is about the key premise of the solution of the murder that bothers me so much, as it would ruin the mystery for the reader, but, in light of what is fairly common knowledge now, it just doesn't work today.
Now for the bright side. As always, I enjoyed John Mortimer's Rumpole and his wife, "She Who Must Be Obeyed," who are on a cruise ship on their second honeymoon. for fans of the "Rumpole of the Bailey" series, it is amusing to even imagine Rumpole aboard a cruise ship where one must dress for dinner and if "She Wo Must . . . " has her way, go dancing in the evenings, drink fine liquers, hob-nob with fellow passengers, etc., etc. This story, "Rumpole at Sea," combines most of the elements that go into a highly entertaining story. As there should be because this is meant to be a mystery, there is a bit of a mystery. There is, however, even more tongue-in-cheek British dry humor. There are people you really care about, and a few that you don't. All in all, it's hard not to be charmed by Mortimer's take on Rumpole, his wife, and a moderately unpleasant judge or two.
In "Honeymoon Cruise," I couldn't find a single character I really cared about, so I just didn't care who was planning to kill whom.
But, on the positive side (again),we have "Mutiny of the Bounty Hunter," which has people that grew on me, and by the end of the story, I really did care about what happened to them. Even in a story this short, the author managed to give us real people who changed as the situation warranted it, not the unidimesnsional ones like those in "Honeymoon Cruise."
In summary: For me, DEATH CRUISE was really a mixed bag, with just enough entertainment value for me that I, like certain movie critics, can give it a "reluctant tumbs up."