Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery at Sea

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9780743563918: Santa Cruise: A Holiday Mystery at Sea

IN THE BESTSELLING TRADITION OF THE CHRISTMAS THIEF . . . A HOLIDAY MYSTERY AT SEA

America's Queen of Suspense -- Mary Higgins Clark -- joins forces with her daughter Carol -- bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries -- in this fast-paced novel set on a special holiday cruise that sets sail from Miami the day after Christmas.

Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth; recently "hitched" private detective Regan Reilly; and their husbands Willy and Jack, are guests on the Royal Mermaid's maiden voyage, the Santa Cruise. The cruise is Commodore Randolph Weed's gift to a select group of people who in the last year made the world a better place. What he doesn't know is that his ne'er-do-well nephew, Eric, has smuggled two escaping criminals on board. As the Royal Mermaid sails through troubled waters, Alvirah and Regan uncover clues that lead them to the dangerous men who were not on the original guest list!

Filled with suspense and humor, Santa Cruise is a holiday mystery you won't want to miss. Join the Clarks as they bring this unpredictable voyage to a hair-raising and heartwarming conclusion and ring in the New Year.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

The number one New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has written thirty-five suspense novels; four collections of short stories; a historical novel, a memoir, two children's books, and most recently partnered with Alafair Burke to collaborate on a new series: The Under Suspicion novels. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, Clark has co-authored five more suspense novels. Her books are international bestsellers with more than one hundred million copies in print in the United States alone.

Carol Higgins Clark is the author of the bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday suspense series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several novels. She received AudioFile’s Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is CarolHigginsClark.com.

Carol Higgins Clark is the author of the bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday suspense series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several novels. She received AudioFile’s Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is CarolHigginsClark.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Monday, December 19th

Randolph Weed, self-styled commodore, stood on the deck of his pride and joy, the Royal Mermaid, an old ship he had bought and paid a fortune to refurbish and on which he intended to spend the rest of his life playing host to both friends and paying guests. Docked in the Port of Miami, the ship was being readied for its maiden voyage, the "Santa Cruise," a four-day trip in the Caribbean with one stop at Fishbowl Island.

Dudley Loomis, his forty-year-old PR man, who would also serve as cruise director, joined Randolph on the deck. He took a deep breath of the refreshing breeze blowing off the Atlantic Ocean and sighed happily. "Commodore, I have e-mailed all the major news organizations once again to let them know about this unique and wonderful maiden voyage. I began the release, 'On December 26th, Santa is turning in his sleigh, giving Rudolph and the other reindeer some time off, and taking a cruise. It's the Santa Cruise -- Commodore Randolph Weed's gift to a select group of people who have in their own unique way made the world a better place this past year.' "

"I've always liked giving gifts," the Commodore said, a smile on his weathered but still handsome sixty-three-year-old face. "But people didn't always appreciate it. My three ex-wives never understood what a deep and caring man I am. For goodness' sake, I gave my last wife my Google stock before it went public."

"That was a terrible mistake," Dudley said solemnly, shaking his head. "A terrible mistake."

"I don't begrudge her the money. I've made and lost fortunes. Now I want to give back to others. As you know, this Santa Cruise was created to raise money for charity, and celebrate those who have given of themselves."

"It was my idea," Dudley reminded him.

"True. But the money to pay for this cruise is coming out of my pocket. I spent considerably more than I expected in order to make the Royal Mermaid the beautiful ship she has become. But she's worth every penny." He paused. "At least I hope she is."

Dudley Loomis held his tongue. Everyone had warned the Commodore that he'd be better off having a new ship built than dumping a fortune into this old tub, but I do admit it cleaned up rather well, Dudley told himself. He had been cruise director on mammoth vessels where he had to worry about several thousand guests, many of whom he found intensely irritating. He would now deal with only four hundred passengers, most of whom would probably be happy to sit on deck and read instead of having entertainment shoved down their throats twenty-four hours a day. Dudley had come up with the idea of the Santa Cruise when reservations for passage on the Royal Mermaid were almost nil. He was a PR man right down to the rubber soles of his yachting shoes.

"We should have a free cruise the day after Christmas to get the kinks out of the ship before any paying passengers, or reviewers, come on board," he had told his boss. "You'll donate passage to charities and do-gooders. It'll only be a few days, and in the long run it will pay for itself with the good publicity I'll get for you. By the time our official maiden voyage rolls around on January 20th, we'll be turning people away. You wait and see."

The Commodore had needed a few minutes to think about it. "A totally free cruise?"

"Free!" Dudley had insisted. "Everything for free!"

The Commodore had winced. "The bar, too?"

"Everything! From soup to nuts!"

Eventually, the Commodore agreed. The special Santa Cruise would set sail in one week, the day after Christmas, and return to Miami four days later.

Now, as the two men walked along the freshly scrubbed deck, they went over the final details. "I'm still hoping for one of the television stations to at least attend the pre-sailing cocktail party on the deck," Dudley said. "I've sent word to the ten Santa Clauses you are treating to get here early so they can try on the lightweight Santa Claus outfits that you had made for them. They should be ready to mingle with everyone at our evening cocktail party.

"It turned out to be a blessing in disguise when I had that fender bender with that Santa Claus from Tallahassee last month. While we were exchanging insurance papers, he got weepy and confided how exhausting it was to listen to children all day long, have pictures taken with them, and, worse yet, be sneezed on. By the time Christmas Day rolled around, he'd be exhausted and unemployed again. That's when the light went on in my head to include ten Santas among the guests..."

"You're always thinking," the Commodore agreed. "I just hope we get enough paying passengers in the next few months to keep this ship afloat."

"It'll all be fine, Commodore," Dudley said in his most cheery cruise-director voice.

"You said we hadn't heard from all the people who won this trip at charity auctions. What's the status on that?"

"Everyone is coming -- we're just waiting to hear from one passenger. She was by far the highest bidder at an auction for this cruise. I sent her a letter by FedEx, and as an enticement offered her the remaining two staterooms so she could bring friends. She's a good person for us to have on board. She won forty million dollars in a lottery, appears on television regularly, and is a contributing columnist to a large newspaper." He did not add that he had lost the name and address of this winner -- who had attended his friend Cal Sweeney's auction -- and had just followed up on it. He almost fainted when he realized Alvirah Meehan was not only a celebrity, but a columnist.

"Splendid, Dudley, splendid. I wouldn't mind winning the lottery myself! In fact, I may need to -- "

"Good morning, Uncle Randolph."

They had not heard the Commodore's nephew, Eric, come up behind them.

Sneaky as always, Dudley thought as he turned to greet the newcomer. I swear he could make his living as a mugger.

"Good morning, my boy," the Commodore said heartily, beaming at his kinsman.

The warm smile on thirty-two-year-old Eric Manchester's face was the expression he reserved for the Commodore and other important people, Dudley observed. With his perfect tan, sun-streaked hair, and muscled body, Eric had obviously divided his time between the beach and the gym. He was wearing a Tommy Bahama floral shirt, khaki shorts, and Docksiders. The sight of him made Dudley ill. He knew that when the passengers came on board Eric would be outfitted as an officer of the ship, although God knows what office he was supposed to hold.

How come I wasn't born good-looking, with a rich uncle? Dudley wondered wistfully.

"I'm running into town, sir," Eric addressed the Commodore, totally ignoring Dudley. "Anything you need?"

"I'll let you two chat," Dudley said, anxious to get away from the farce of watching Eric pretend he was of any use to the Commodore, the Royal Mermaid, or the upcoming Santa Cruise. Eric had wormed his way onto the payroll immediately after his uncle bought the ship.

The Commodore smiled at his sister's son. "Don't need a thing I don't already have," he said heartily. "Have fun at the party you went to last night?"

Eric thought of the wad of cash he'd been given at that party, the down payment on what would make the Santa Cruise a risky and dangerous trip -- and profitable for him..."It was lots of fun, Uncle Randolph," Eric said. "I was bragging to everyone about our upcoming Santa Cruise and how generous you are helping to raise money for charities. Everyone there wished they were coming with us."

The Commodore slapped him on the back. "Good work, Eric. Get people interested in us. Get people to sign up for one of our voyages."

I did, Eric thought, but you won't know about them...He shivered slightly, yet he couldn't help but smile at the irony.

Eric's guests would be the only two paying passengers on the Santa Cruise.

Copyright 2006 by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2006. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged. 145 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New. IN THE BESTSELLING TRADITION OF THE CHRISTMAS THIEF . . . A HOLIDAY MYSTERY AT SEA America s Queen of Suspense -- Mary Higgins Clark -- joins forces with her daughter Carol -- bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries -- in this fast-paced novel set on a special holiday cruise that sets sail from Miami the day after Christmas. Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth; recently hitched private detective Regan Reilly; and their husbands Willy and Jack, are guests on the Royal Mermaid s maiden voyage, the Santa Cruise. The cruise is Commodore Randolph Weed s gift to a select group of people who in the last year made the world a better place. What he doesn t know is that his ne er-do-well nephew, Eric, has smuggled two escaping criminals on board. As the Royal Mermaid sails through troubled waters, Alvirah and Regan uncover clues that lead them to the dangerous men who were not on the original guest list! Filled with suspense and humor, Santa Cruise is a holiday mystery you won t want to miss. Join the Clarks as they bring this unpredictable voyage to a hair-raising and heartwarming conclusion and ring in the New Year. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780743563918

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Book Description Simon & Schuster Audio. No binding. Book Condition: New. Audio CD. 5 pages. Dimensions: 5.7in. x 5.3in. x 1.1in.Americas Queen of Suspense -- Mary Higgins Clark -- joins forces with her daughter Carol -- bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries -- in this fast-paced novel set on a special holiday cruise that sets sail from Miami the day after Christmas. Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth; her husband, Willy; recently hitched private detective Regan Reilly and her groom, Jack, head of the NYPD Major Case Squad; and Regans parents, Nora and Luke, are guests on the Royal Mermaids maiden voyage, the Santa Cruise. The cruise is Commodore Randolph Weeds gift to a select group of people who in the last year made the world a better place. What he really wants is good publicity that will generate future bookings for his struggling new venture. He also plans to scatter his beloved mothers ashes at sea during this four-day odyssey in the Caribbean. What he doesnt know is that his neer-do-well nephew, Eric, has smuggled two escaping criminals on board. Alvirah won the cruise at a charity auction and persuaded the Reillys to accompany her and Willy. Other passengers include members of the Oklahoma Readers and Writers group, who volunteer their time teaching people to read. The group is planning a mystery seminar dedicated to a Ghost of Honor, the late Left Hook Louie, a champion prizefighter turned bestselling author. There are also ten men on board who had donated their time playing Santa Claus during the holiday season as well as assorted other charitable folk, all planning on a restful post-Christmas vacation. The hoped-for tranquility soon vanishes. A terrified mystery fan swears she has spotted the Ghost of Honor in the ships chapel. Two Santa suits disappear from a locked supply room. A storm develops, and in the infirmary an attempt is made on the life of a seemingly feeble passenger. Back in Miami, a TV reporter is turning the cruise into a public-relations nightmare, thanks to her spies on the ship. As the Royal Mermaid sails through troubled waters, Alvirah, Regan, and Jack are uncovering the clues that lead them to dangerous criminals who were not on the original guest list! Filled with suspense and humor, Santa Cruise is a holiday mystery you wont want to miss. Join the Clarks as they bring this unpredictable voyage to a hair-raising and heartwarming conclusion and ring in the New Year. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Audio CD. Bookseller Inventory # 9780743563918

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2006. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged. 145 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New. IN THE BESTSELLING TRADITION OF THE CHRISTMAS THIEF . . . A HOLIDAY MYSTERY AT SEA America s Queen of Suspense -- Mary Higgins Clark -- joins forces with her daughter Carol -- bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries -- in this fast-paced novel set on a special holiday cruise that sets sail from Miami the day after Christmas. Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth; recently hitched private detective Regan Reilly; and their husbands Willy and Jack, are guests on the Royal Mermaid s maiden voyage, the Santa Cruise. The cruise is Commodore Randolph Weed s gift to a select group of people who in the last year made the world a better place. What he doesn t know is that his ne er-do-well nephew, Eric, has smuggled two escaping criminals on board. As the Royal Mermaid sails through troubled waters, Alvirah and Regan uncover clues that lead them to the dangerous men who were not on the original guest list! Filled with suspense and humor, Santa Cruise is a holiday mystery you won t want to miss. Join the Clarks as they bring this unpredictable voyage to a hair-raising and heartwarming conclusion and ring in the New Year. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780743563918

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