The Moonlit Murders by Fliss Chester
Book Review

book cover
Publication Date: April 21, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Series: Fen Churche Mysteries, Book 3
Format: ebook
Genre: Historical Fiction, Cozy Mystery


When a journey to New York is interrupted by missing diamonds and a body in the lifeboat, there is only one woman who can help: Fen Churche!

1945. Fen Churche follows her dreams and sails for New York. She books passage on a steam ship from France to America, excited to dance the night away in the glamorous ballroom and play games on deck. Nothing will stand in the way of her trip, not even when an eccentric heiress’s diamond tiara goes missing…

Looking forward to relaxing with her favourite crossword puzzles, Fen’s quiet passage is horribly disrupted by another crime – this time a murder. Fen finds Genie, a young actress bound for Broadway, strangled in her own cabin. With no police on board and a frantic captain, Fen decides to do a little snooping of her own.

When another body turns up, hidden in a lifeboat, whilst the ship is in the middle of the Atlantic, Fen feels sure these dreadful crimes are linked. Through her sleuthing she meets light-hearted lieutenants returning from the war, charming cabin boys and snooty first-class passengers who look down their nose at her. But it isn’t until Fen realises that one person is missing from the passenger list that she is finally on the murderer’s trail.

With only rolling waves and sea mists for company, can Fen solve the case before they dock in New York and the killer escapes for good?

You’ll be utterly hooked from page one of this warm and witty cozy! An absolute treat for fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Jacqueline Winspear.

My Thoughts

After being in France for nearly two months, Fen Churche is excited to be heading home to England. With the aristocratic Captain James Lancaster in tow, she travels to the port of Le Havre to board the De Grasse, which will take them to Southhampton before heading on to New York.

The passengers are a mixed bunch of returning Allied servicemen and civilians. Amongst them are Genie, an aspiring actress; her fiancé, Spencer, a popular US radio entertainer; the wealthy and formidable Mrs. Mariella Archer; and Eloise, her niece. Fen and James become part of this group.

When James confesses that he's not ready to go home and has decided to carry on to New York with their new friends, Fen is surprised and disappointed. Although Fen is looking forward to seeing her parents and friends, an offer from Mrs. Archer persuades Fen to also remain with the ship.

It's not long before the peaceful voyage is disrupted. Mrs. Archer's jewels are stolen. While searching for them, Fen discovers a body in one of the lifeboats and when Genie is found strangled, Fen now has three crimes to solve. She does this in the way she solves the cryptic crossword puzzles she so enjoys.

Just like the other books in the series, I was thoroughly entertained by Fen's sleuthing adventures and the camaraderie that she shares with James. Their banter is witty and amusing, especially when the phrase how rude is thrown into the conversation. It always results in a giggle or two at an inappropriate moment. This time around the story is also peppered with lots of raised eyebrows and winking, which also adds to the fun.

While this is a cozy mystery, it does touch on some serious aspects of the aftermath of the war: how Germans were viewed and the grab for their scientific and technological research.

As to the solving of the jewel theft and the murders, I had no idea who was responsible. The reveal came as a big surprise, but was totally credible.

This is a wonderful mystery series. I'm looking forward to the next instalment.

Meet the Author

Fliss Chester
Fliss Chester lives in Surrey with her husband and writes historical cozy crime. When she is not killing people off in her 1940s whodunnits, she helps her husband, who is a wine merchant, run their business. Never far from a decent glass of something, Fliss also loves cooking (and writing up her favourite recipes on her blog), enjoying the beautiful Surrey and West Sussex countryside and having a good natter.

Connect with Fliss: Twitter

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  1. Oh I like the sound of this one! I'll have to add it to my TBR :)

  2. I love cruise ships so a murder on one sounds interesting.