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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

Sail Away (Author: Celia Imrie)

Sail Away (Book Cover)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Murder Mystery

Sail Away By Celia Imrie

As a jobbing actress who had been in the game for longer than she cared to remember, calls from Suzy's agent were getting less & less frequent. When the call finally arrives, he informs her that she has an audition for a play. Having got the part & attended several rehearsals, Suzy learns that the performances are to be taken to Zurich!

An indication of things to come begin at the airport when members of the cast find that they don't have access (on their phones) to their boarding passes, tickets & flight information, all supposedly arranged by Appenzell, the mysterious sponsor of the production. Once at their destination, Appenzell requests that Jason, a member of the cast & by now a good friend of Suzy's, come to his apartment.

There are several other people in attendance, plus Jason notes, two young boys &, after asking questions, he is horrified to discover that they are being groomed by the the other men. Jason shuts down the gathering, much to Appenzells's anger, & in return Appenzell shuts down the production of the play, leaving cast & crew to find & pay for their own way back to the U.K. Jason & Suzy start to realise that their lives may be in danger & decide that working as entertainment on a cruise ship is a good way to get out of the country.....

Meanwhile, back in London, Amanda has sold her house that she shared with her ex husband & two children, the latter now grown up with their own lives, & is scheduled to move into her new flat the next day. However, the owner of the flat drops out at the eleventh hour. Amanda manages to arrange it so that all her belongings can remain in storage & goes to stay with her daughter. Unfortunately after one night & a row over her ability to look after her Grandchildren versus the new nanny, it becomes clear that she has outstayed her welcome......on top of which, her solicitor has rung to tell her that it may take sometime to organise her property situation. She sees an advert in a travel agents window for a cruise & figures that this should buy her time until she can return to either property.

Suzy & Jason are unaware of their perilous link with Amanda. Appenzell has boarded the liner & is very much not what or whom he initially seems.....

I don't think that I was ever aware that Celia Imrie had written books, although I love her as an actress. Equally, I don't think I would ever have bought any of her novels, as I tend to stick to favourite authors, biographies & autobiographies of people I like & admire. So I imagine that this book was gifted to me at some point.

I was sceptical at first. Primarily because, as I've already said, I had never read a Celia Imrie book, but also because I go in for Chicklit type stories & never books with a murder mystery/crime type narrative.....although Celia may have opened my mind to that possibility now. It was good to discover a new author, particular being someone I already liked, albeit from her work in another medium. Having looked at her other publications, I think I was probably given the one most suitable for dipping my toe into this new genre, in a modern contemporary setting & not going full Poirot or Miss Marple.

This book is packed with interesting, likeable, humorous characters (apart from the villain of the peace of course) & if you've never been on a cruise it introduces you to the highs & lows of ocean liner living....although hopefully it would be slightly more relaxing! The story keeps you in suspense as to how the main characters are connected, gradually revealing the havoc that Appenzell wreaks on Amanda's life, making you realise how dangerous he actually is. The worse it got for Amanda & the more her life starts to unravel, the more I wanted to find out what would become of Suzy & Jason.

The mystery surrounding the murders of Stan, the cover up & the circumstances in which it occurred are cleverly put together. Appenzell's plan is something that you don't see coming & the implication of Amanda's son was a very clever twist. In many ways this is an 'edge-of-your-seat page turner & certainly took me out of my cosy chicklit comfort zone which I ultimately think was a good thing, & I may delve into Celia Imrie's novel list again, or be tempted with that genre when I next fancy being more adventurous.....

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