Steve Higgs

Steve Higgs
The Missing Sapphire of Zangrabar

Fifty-two-year-old Patricia Fisher has just discovered her husband is having an affair with her best friend. Not a fling, either—it’s been going on so long that they take the time to hang up their clothes neatly before getting in bed.

So she does what any reasonable woman would do: cleans out the bank accounts and jumps on a round-the-world cruise, settling into the poshest suite her luxury liner has to offer. “I had a butler. His sole job was to make my life a pleasure.” Patricia decides she could get used to this.

And then the fun begins. Almost at once she encounters a self-professed jewel thief (“There’s no extradition from a ship”), then gets accused of his murder and confined to quarters. Not that this stops Patricia, or even slows her down. In no time she’s eluding guards, staging fainting fits, and generally channeling her inner James Bond. Disguised in dreadlocks as a Jamaican fortune teller—“I was thinking I was more of a large than a medium”—Patricia objects that she looks like “Bob Marley’s white aunt.”

Steve Higgs will have you laughing from the gangplank to the galley, and the promenade to the poop deck. Being weighed at the ship’s onboard gym, Patricia expects the scale to announce “One at a time!” when she steps on it. (When it later shows she has lost eight pounds, she’s convinced they’ve merely gone to collect reinforcements.) A personal trainer advises passengers on “tailored diets that would enable them to get healthy while surrounded by decadent food designed to make them fatter.” The butler mastered his impeccable British accent by watching Downton Abbey.

I’ll gladly follow Patricia to her next port of call, wherever that may be. This is one heroine who knows how to ride the waves.

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