Death Sets Sail
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong have set off on a trip to Egypt courtesy of fellow Deepdean girl Amina El-Maghrabi (who Daisy may possibly have a crush on) who has invited them to stay with her family in Cairo. Better still, Hazel’s father has offered to take them on a Nile cruise afterwards, with Hazel’s sisters May and Rose in tow.
Yet while Daisy and Rose are exploring temples and ruins, they run across a strange group of English men and women calling themselves the Breath of Life society – all of whom believe that they are reincarnated Egyptian Kings and Queens. When their unpleasant leader, Theodora Miller, is murdered on board the SS Hatshepsut, Hazel and Daisy are there to investigate – but with so many people with a good reason to dislike Theodora, it won’t be an easy task.
The final adventure in the Murder Most Unladylike series has a wonderful resonance with Agatha Christie’s 1930s Death on the Nile murder mystery with all its Egyptian mystery, heat and splendour, as well as the luxurious ship itself, also tying in Britain’s fascination with Howard Carter’s recent Tutankhamun discovery and the somewhat appropriative attitudes of the white middle class at the time.
Amina’s point of view as a modern Egyptian Muslim viewing the Breath of Life’s garbled rituals to the ancient Egyptian gods is among a number of details that highlight the assumptions of colonialism, class and Empire among which Wells and Wong steer their story – which is, as always, a finely crafted whodunnit with plenty of intrigue, compelling characters – and an unexpected twist.