50 WAYS TO KILL YOUR LOVER
2006 -- Amber Quill, ebook and print
In this flashback to the first
of the Hunter Knox adventures, Hunter reveals to Melonie (in bed, of course) how he became
Hunter Knox and who Lorraine Who Wasn't was. It all took place, he explains, aboard
the HMS Hephaestus, a ship that has sunk a dozen times while under the command of
Captain Agropoulos. In it we meet such memorable characters as First Purser Thougg Pfistic
and the very dead Velbig Fossage, corpse about town, who manages to get himself
bludgeoned, stabbed, strangled, poisoned, shot and variously murdered including being
blown up. Nearly everybody, therefore, becomes a suspect, including Lorraine Who Wasn't
and the question becomes not one of Whodunit but Whodunitlast. A typically bizarre Hunter
Knox mystery, which also includes the first appearance of beloved preacher T. Keenly
Shureglow and his rendition of "The Heavenly Ladder."
PAR FOR THE CORPSE
POE THE MUSICAL
Reviews for 50 WAYS
TO KILL YOUR LOVER...
Reviewed by *Kevin R. Tipple*
"The Hephaestus had never been a lucky ship. In fact, its fate was probably sealed
when it was first christened the Oedipus and sailed under a captain who managed to keep
his legal blindness a secret until he ran the ship aground." So opens this very
quirky novel from Terry Sheils.
Ami Figuerino, amply endowed fitness instructor on board the HMS Hephaestus, finds an
anonymous naked man dead in one of the lockers in the ship's fitness salon. Although he
has been bludgeoned, strangled, hung upside-down and stabbed with a pair of scissors still
stuck in his chest, all Ami notices is that he has one of her towels firmly imbedded in
On orders of Captain Agropulous, a search is begun among the passengers and
crew to discover the dead man's identity -- using a photograph of Ami paired with the
deceased wearing nothing but a strategically placed towel. During the course of the search
for the deceased's identity and a probable stowaway, unemployed actor Hunter Knox
volunteers to help crack the case. He is allowed free access to all areas of the ship,
providing him with the opportunity to flirt, toss about bad puns, and generally apply his
well-meaning goodwill to solve the case.
Humor is a very subjective thing, and this was my first exposure to the Hunter Knox
series, in which humor is the driving force and the mystery itself is a secondary issue.
The best hypothetical example that comes to mind is a cross between the old TV show
Colombo and the cable channel Comedy Central.
This novel is full of jokes and puns from the politically incorrect Knox, many
of which are aimed at half-dressed, voluptuous female passengers who either don't get the
joke, or turn the comment into sexual repartee of their own. In that context, much of the
humor works, and what does not will leave you groaning at the absurdity of it all.
Readers who expect a straightforward murder mystery may be put off by what is more of a
journey into the surreal as the author parodies the classic conventional mysteries to
varying effect. This parody continues through the ending, in which the thoroughly confused
detective assembles all the suspects in an attempt to reveal the killer.
Long-time Hunter Knox fans will know exactly what they are in for and will have many
questions answered regarding the beginnings of the series. For the rest, an understanding
that this is an extremely offbeat novel is paramount in your consideration of this work.
Fifteen suspects are seated at the Captain's Table as the oft-resurrected Greek cruise
ship, Hephaestus, makes its way through balmy breezes and tropical ports. Poor old Velbig
Fossage doesn't make it to the Captain's dinner, however. While under sail, he's been
fractured, bludgeoned, stabbed, smothered, poisoned and finally, detonated ! Could one of
the old con's 'marks' have caught up with him? Captain Agropoulos is eager to solve the
crime and enlists the aid of Wally Mazure, con man and private eye, whose philosophy is
"...though you can only be young once, you can be immature all your life." Wally
finds himself sharing the bed and bounty of Lorraine Who Wasn't and the two match wits to
solve this murder asea. As Wally confesses his true identity (Alias Hunter Knox -- if he
remembers correctly) the two embark on an island hopping joyride as they collect clues and
unravel the identity of the mysterious Velbig Fossage.
Alias and Lorraine soon discover that the ship's officers and every passenger dining at
table 46 has something to hide. Lured to the cruise through a faked contest, not one of
the tablemates is who (or what) they appear to be. Alias must draw from his considerable
con man's bag of tricks as he becomes not only a stand up comic but a preacher as well.
A rollicking good tale that will leave you second-guessing every colorful character you
meet aboard this ship-that-refuses-to-sink. Sheils' fiction is positively lyrical, his
characters funny and real. The enchantment of the islands is brought to life as you cruise
along on a ship with more aliases than the murdered con man. A wonderfully entertaining
Ingrid Taylor -- All About Murder Reviews