Publication: 20th January 2022 – Century
November 1924. The Endeavour sets sail to New York with 2,000 passengers – and a killer – on board…
When an elderly gentleman is found dead at the foot of a staircase, ship’s officer Timothy Birch is ready to declare it a tragic accident. But James Temple, a strong-minded Scotland Yard inspector, is certain there is more to this misfortune than meets the eye.
Birch agrees to investigate, and the trail quickly leads to the theft of a priceless painting. Its very existence is known only to its owner… and the dead man.
With just days remaining until they reach New York, and even Temple’s purpose on board the Endeavour proving increasingly suspicious, Birch’s search for the culprit is fraught with danger.
And all the while, the passengers continue to roam the ship with a killer in their midst…
If you are looking for a thrilling and twisty novel with Agatha Christie vibes, then I highly recommend A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle.
There are murders, secrets, and theft. All the action happens on board of the Endeavour during its voyage from Southampton to New York. The time is November 1924, and the protagonist is Timothy Birch, a ship’s officer.
Timothy Birch is a complex and engaging character who carries a great guilt. After the end of the war, he found a job on the Endeavour, against his wife’s wishes as it keeps him away from his family for weeks, and it is during one of his absences that he suffered a great loss. Burdened by guilt and distress, Timothy focuses on his job and he is headed to New York to meet a friend who could help him. However, the crossing is far from peaceful when a man is found dead. The captain of the ship declares it an accident and is ready to forget all about it. However, a persistent and tenacious Scotland Yard detective, James Temple, is convinced that the man was murdered and insists on investigating. The captain accepts on the condition that Timothy will shadow him, so as not to cause too much disruption among the passengers.
As Temple and Birch investigate, we travel around the ship, which the author describes in precise details, from first class to the crew area, we slowly uncover the real reason behind Temple’s persistence in investigating the murder, and we are immersed in a world of art and priceless paintings, theft, and the wealthy’s private affairs.
I had a bit of a slow start, but then I found myself immersed in the story which is entertaining and suspenseful and there is a final twist that it was so unexpected that I gasped in surprise. All in all, a fantastic atmospheric debut novel!
A huge thank you to Century and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the novel.
Tom Hindle is originally from Yorkshire and now lives in Oxfordshire, where he works for a digital PR agency. A FATAL CROSSING is Tom’s debut novel and was inspired by masters of the crime genre from Agatha Christie to Anthony Horowitz.