Beware all mystery writers. Marie Moore has now joined your genre with her well-told tale, Shore Excursion. This cleverly written mystery with its elaborate attention to detail will catch your imagination within a few pages. It might make you a bit leery about taking your next trip on a cruise ship, especially near Scandinavia and Russia.
Miss Marsh is an experienced travel agent who has planned to cruise the North Sea with a group of elderly individuals that call themselves the High Steppers. Having finished initial preparations to leave with them from New York, she starts for her apartment on a weary afternoon with a "creepy-crawly feeling" that someone, possibly a "homeless man," is following her.
Next, we find her and the High Steppers in London where their bus’ luggage compartment is sideswiped and dented by a box truck. All agree that the incident seemed more careless than not, maybe even a deliberate hit. After a short delay to check the integrity of High Steppers’ belongings, the elderly group sets sail on the Rapture. This huge vessel carries 2,366 passengers.
In the dead of night, Miss Marsh clearly hears the door handle to her cabin creak and turn, not once, but twice. Thankfully, the inside lock was engaged, but Marsh spends most of that night awake. Next morning, a High Stepper is found dead; the sleeves of her new pink robe are tied tightly around her neck. Peculiarly, a creepy Doctor Sledge tells Marsh that she “died of strangulation, my dear. Not that she was necessarily murdered” (45). This weird comment drives Marsh to investigate the incident the best she can. She begins to questions ship personnel.
But the captain forbids her to question anyone. In fact, she must remain silent about the murder because it would ruin the cruise for all passengers. Now, truly befuddled, she trusts no one. Her uncanny feeling of being followed and/or watched obsesses her thoughts. Sitting alone outside by the library, without warning, the door slams shut. She jumps to open the door only to find an empty corridor.