Set Sail for Murder (Henrie O Series #7)

Set Sail for Murder (Henrie O Series #7)

by Carolyn G. Hart

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When retired newspaper reporter Henrietta O'Dwyer Collins, Henrie O to her friends, receives a call for help, she discovers that love once kindled never burns to ashes. Although she refused Jimmy Lennox's marriage proposal, there is still a special place for him in her heart. She wished him well when he found happiness with Sophia Montgomery, world-famous documentary filmmaker and stepmother to the now grown heirs of a great fortune. Sophia is at odds with the heirs, and Jimmy fears for her safety. He asks Henrie O to come along with the family on a Baltic cruise. Henrie O can't turn down her old friend, though old passions are stirred when he calls.

On the voyage she soon realizes this dysfunctional family is plunging toward destruction and one of the travelers has murder in mind. As the ports of call pass—Copenhagen, Gdynia, Tallinn, St. Petersburg—death inexorably approaches. Henrie O works desperately to save Jimmy and to bring hope to lives blighted by anger, resentment, and heartbreak.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060724085
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/25/2008
Series: Henrie O Series , #7
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the author of twenty previous Death on Demand novels. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. She is also the creator of the Henrie O series, featuring a retired reporter, and the Bailey Ruth series, starring an impetuous, redheaded ghost. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City.

Read an Excerpt

Set Sail for Murder

Chapter One

The telephone shrilled as I stepped inside the house. I was hot and thirsty, intent upon reaching the kitchen and a frosty glass of Gatorade, but, of course, I picked up the ringing portable phone from the move-scarred walnut table in my front hallway. Old reporters never ignore that imperious summons even when the days of deadlines are long past. I glanced at the small screen. Suddenly I was breathless.

Caller ID: James A. Lennox.

This was a call I had never expected to receive, certainly not on a casual summer morning, sweaty and relaxed after a jog on the university track. It was a slow jog at my age, but nonetheless I could still pick one foot up, put it down, take pleasure in exercise.

The ring sounded again. I struggled for breath, punched TALK. "Hello."

"Henrie O." The clear, resonant tenor was still youthful, without the dour droop of age. A dear voice. Once I had welcomed his calls, come to depend upon them, my spirits lifting when he spoke my name. Jimmy Lennox had long been a cherished friend and, once, my lover, but he took one road and I another. This unexpected call loosed emotions I had thought neatly packaged and filed in the past. I was swept by tenderness, unease, sadness, and a sense of foreboding.

I should have answered right away, but how do you respond to an old friend and former lover whose proposal of marriage you declined? The last time I saw Jimmy . . .

"Henrie O, please don't hang up." The appeal was utterly unlike confident, unflappable Jimmy. Lanky, laconic, and clever, Jimmy had become a part of my life with his quick curiosity, wry senseof humor, and lack of pretension.

When I spoke, I spoke with my heart. "I'll never hang up on you."

His appeal and my response held a world of meaning for both of us. I knew Jimmy was upset. He knew I cared for him still, would never be quite certain how much was friendship and how much was love.

Ultimately I'd felt there was not enough love for me to marry him. That decision haunted me still. I missed Jimmy, missed him intensely, but now he was married. I would always care for Jimmy. He'd achieved a measure of fame as a newsman and later as a biographer. In my memory he moved with his usual grace, lithe and lean, with an air of placidity that often fooled his interview subjects into thinking him a trifle slow. That was a mistake.

"What's wrong?" We never minced words with each other. I swept off a calico headband, swiped at my perspiring face. In the mirror above the table, my cheeks still flamed from exertion and my silvered dark hair curled in damp ringlets.

"I don't have any right to call on you. But you're the only person who can possibly help me." He was uncertain, reluctant.

I've never been able to stay on the sidelines when someone I love is in trouble. "What can I do?"

He drew a deep breath. "I haven't talked to you since I married Sophia."

Deep in sleepless nights, I still willed away the emptiness I'd felt upon receiving the wedding invitation. Sophia Montgomery. I remembered her well. I doubt she recalled me. Sophia lived in a blaze of excitement, attention, and achievement. She'd succeeded hugely in documentary films, recording everything from genocide in Rwanda to the shrinking of the polar ice cap. I'd met her when she was in Mexico cataloging the struggle of insurrectionists in Chiapas. Along her way to fame, she'd married an actor and later a financier. Twice a widow, she was now Jimmy's wife. She was now in her fifties, almost fifteen years younger than Jimmy. And me, of course.

I looked again in the mirror at deep-set dark eyes in a narrow face with lines that mapped a lifetime of happiness and sorrow. Not a young face.

I'd sent an elegant cut-glass bowl as a wedding gift. She and Jimmy had married last year at her home near Carmel. The nuptials were a celebrity-studded extravaganza. I'd read about the glamorous guest list in People. Clearly, something had gone awry in this celebrated union. "Of course. How is Sophia?" Smart as ever? Intense as ever? Brilliant as ever?

"She won't listen to me. I keep warning her, but she won't listen." Anger warred with despair. "I've got to have help or—"

I felt a twist of irritation. That easygoing Jimmy might end up at odds with Sophia came as no surprise. Sophia had a genius for barreling straight to the destination of her choice, disregarding both approval and opposition. I wouldn't have expected Jimmy to seek me out as a mediator for a troubled relationship. I almost cut in to say I'd left my Ann Landers hat in someone else's closet, but he continued, the words anguished.

"—she may die."

I felt cold. I reached out, turned off the air-conditioning. "Cancer?" Sophia was in her fifties, the age when so many women are struck by that devastating disease. Was she a woman who would not take care, ignored danger signals?

"God, I wish. You can cut it out, right? Even Sophia would pay attention to cancer. When a boulder crashed down a cliff yesterday and missed her by a foot, hey, that's just an unfortunate accident. Accident, my foot. Somebody pushed that boulder and it has to be one of the family."

I shivered in my clammy T-shirt and shorts. I walked down the hall into the cheerful kitchen, with its yellow tile floor, white counters, yellow walls, white kitchen table, and chairs. If I hadn't known Jimmy for almost a half century, known him in good times and bad, I might have dismissed his fear, as Sophia obviously had. But Jimmy was never an alarmist.

I squeezed the phone between my head and shoulder, pulled open the refrigerator, retrieved the Gatorade, poured a huge tumblerful. "Five W's and an H, Jimmy." It was the old journalism litany: who, what, when, where, why, and how? I grabbed a notepad from the counter and sat at the kitchen table, pen in hand.

Set Sail for Murder. Copyright © by Carolyn Hart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Set Sail for Murder (Henrie O Series #7) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it very much. It started a little slow but some of Ms. Hart's books do, but if you stay with it, you won't be able to put it down.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Henry O" is an investigative reporter. She has brains, makes intelligent decisions about what to become involved in, and when to involve authorities, and is a thoroughly likeable protagonist. She is asked by a friend (and former lover) to help him figure out which members of his current wife's family is trying to kill her. There's a lot of money at stake (not for friend or wife, but for the kids --making a great motive). The book is still definitely a cozy--there's no overt violence, the characters are filled out just enough for us to infer their motivations, the plot moves along in a pretty straight line, the cruise ship setting was well delineated, and anyone who reads mysteries more than twice a year can figure out by about page 200 "who dunnit." Still in all, it was a pleasant and quick read--the sort one needs when one waits until the day before book club to gobble down something so as to be able to discuss the author intelligently
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Carolyn Hart does two mystery series. One is Death on Demand, about the owner of a mystery book shop on an island off the Carolina coast. The other is about Henri O., a retired journalist. The Death on Demand series is fun, and the characters are often eccentric stereotypes. The Henry O series has characters that are more realistic, more complex, and thus the series has a more mature feeling. For example, see this quote from pl 44. "One of the nuggets of age is the realization that, save for the purposefully evil, everyone does the best they can, a conclusion both mitigating and chilling." The characters bear out the observation. In this book, Henrie O's old friend and sometime lover Jimmy asks for her help in keeping his wife safe from the stepchildren she has alienated but over whom she holds the purse strings. Excellent reading.
LeHack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Henrie O mystery - light mystery. Henrie O goes on a cruise with the family of a friend, who is the husband & a former lover. There is a lot of money at stake - a trust is to be distributed or not and the stepmother is the decision maker. A murder at sea - Henrie O investigates.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Henrie O agrees to go on a cruise to help an old friend convince his wife she is in danger from one of her step kids. But who might it be? The drama in this book was so gripping I had a hard time putting it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ninjamom More than 1 year ago
I like this book because it has many characters but they all have their own personality. I also like the way the author gave so many clues and information but I still ended up thinking it was somebody else who did it. This is an easy and comfortable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheBookResort More than 1 year ago
Carolyn Hart's long-awaited seventh installment in the highly popular Henri O series after six years takes you on a exotic and opulent cruise.The book kicks off with spunky retired journalist Henri O receiving a phone call from dear friend and one time lover, Jimmy Lennox.Jimmy's wife glamorous world-famous documentary film maker, Sophia, has been barely escaping some weird "accidents " that she just shrugs and shakes off as coincidence. Jimmy fears for his wife's safety and pleads with Henri O to join them on a family cruise to the Baltic that will determine what Sophia will do with her step children from her second husband's inheritance.Henri O reluctantly agrees to join the family, but knows Jimmy would come to her rescue if ever there was a need. Sophia's scheming step children loathe her for controlling their money.As the voyage sets sail we are given a wonderful description of the ports of call and the luxuriant cruise ship. I truly enjoyed my two week cruise with the lovely Henri O. It was my first Henri O book and I am anxious to read the series from the beginning. It was well-written, well-plotted and a delight to read.As a diehard fan of her Death on Demand series I was highly impressed with getting to know this charming, fiesty, humorous character.The one thing I love about picking up a book by Hart is her vast use of vocabulary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Henrie O has another adventure and, as always, it is fun and enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where are you frostmoon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waits patiently. Her paw flicks out and snatches a tuna.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stops screaming