In 2012, I read Escape the Night by Mignon G. Eberhart and enjoyed it very much. So I borrowed Five Passengers from Lisbon from the Open Library.
After the end of the World War II, wanting to leave behind the painful war years in Europe, five passengers get aboard a cargo ship from Lisbon travelling to Buenos Aires. On way, the ship faces a storm and the passengers find themselves clinging to a lifeboat, fighting the storm in the dark along with three seamen. With the break of the dawn they find a Red Cross ship and find refuge there. Aboard the hospital ship they find that one of the Seamen Alfred Castiogne was stabbed to death in the lifeboat. Who killed him and why? All the Five passengers claim that they were only slightly acquainted with Castiogne and have no reason to murder him, so the murderer should be one of the other seamen. But we do know, don't we it is one of the Five passengers from Lisbon. Who is it and why?
"What had they brought from the sinister, harried little lifeboat onto this ship?"
The five passengers are Marcia Colfax, her Fiancé Michel Banet, Daisy Belle Cates and her husband Luther Cates and Gili Duvrey. The story is from the view point of Marcia. On the hospital ship, Marcia find herself the target of repeated murder attempts. Who is trying to kill her and why? There is no reason for anybody to murder Marcia, she does not know anything incriminating about anyone nor is she a danger for anyone. After the first attempt on her life, Eberhart slowly builds up tension that you keep expecting more attempts on her life. As the body count increases and number of survivors from the lifeboat decreases, will the Captain of the Red Cross Ship find the murderer and bring back peace on his ship?
Imagine the plight of the Captain of the Red Cross Ship. He had given refuge to people floating on a lifeboat and brought murder into his orderly and life-saving ship.
Eberhart writing is so evocative that I can imagine the fog seeping into the ship making visibility zero percent and danger hundred percent. Do I have to say, that I love mysteries on a ship!
Published in 1946 Five Passengers from Lisbon is a short novel with some romance and lots of suspense that can be read in a couple of hours.