‘When the Titanic sinks it takes with it the crime scene, the witnesses and possibly the murderer’
– The Seventh Passenger
[ About The Seventh Passenger ]
The Titanic’s last stop is at Queenstown, Ireland, where seven first-class passengers disembark.
Soon after continuing its voyage, the body of a man linked to the doomed liner is fished from the water – murdered.
With the crime scene now at the bottom of the ocean, District Inspector Lorcan O’Dowd’s only clue to the identity of the killer is through the seven passengers.
He follows their trail to London and China, slowly piecing together the life of the dead man.
A woman is charged with murder, but O’Dowd isn’t convinced. He’s determined to find the real killer.
[ My Review ]
The Seventh Passenger by Angie Rowe published July 5th with Poolbeg Press. Being from Cork I knew I would have an immediate connection with this debut but what I hadn’t expected was to be transported to the far reaches of China during a very tumultuous time in its history. It was an honour to be asked to contribute a quote for the cover, as I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating novel that took me on a very insightful and exciting journey.
Queenstown in Cork, known today as Cobh, is forever synonymous with the Titanic, being the last port of call for the ill-fated liner. April 12th, 1912, a body is washed up down the harbour from Cobh in the seaside town of Youghal. DI Lorcan O’Dowd is immediately called to the scene and, on initial examination, suspects the victim to have been a passenger on board the Titanic. But with no identification on the body, it’s clear that the investigation will be a challenging one. When news of the tragic sinking of the Titanic is relayed to O’Dowd, he is immediately aware that this case is going to require some imaginative work and he suggests to his superior a trip to London, where he feels he can make more determined inquiries, based on his immediate findings. This trip to London, although primarily a work one, will also give O’Dowd the opportunity to catch up with his half-brother Michael.
O’Dowd has always had a unwelcome feeling when based in Cork. Most of the locals want nothing to do with a member of the RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) and, with his mixed English and Irish rearing, he finds himself alone more often than not. Married to the job, his time is mainly spent in solitude or at a dinner party hosted by the local gentry and business people. With Ireland in a state of flux, his kind do not receive too warm a welcome. He does garner a level of respect but there is always that uncomfortable awareness that he must manage to live with on a daily basis. His brother Michael walks the beat in London and during O’Dowd’s time there they make a good team. O’Dowd unexpectedly enjoys these weeks with his brother, meeting Michael’s wife and children, but he knows not to get too cosy there, as his life, as it is, is in Ireland.
As part of the investigation, it is noted that seven first class passengers alighted the liner in Queenstown and these are the first leads in the case. Who were they? Did they recognise the victim? Were they suspicious and perhaps guilty of murder?
As the identity of the victim eventually reveals itself, O’Dowd finds himself chasing an illusive individual with connections to England and China. As the chapters turn the reader is transported to the Far East at the turn of the 20th century with descriptions of events that both shock and horrify. Angie Rowe explores society at that time in China with eye-opening scenes and frightening depictions. The brutality of the early 20th century society is intricately woven around a tale of courage, grief and terrible pain. As ever I ended up down a rabbit hole of research and was quite in awe of the attention to detail portrayed throughout.
The Seventh Passenger is a complex tale of deception and lies, of raw heartache and sorrow. Angie Rowe has written a novel that explores a very challenging and discomforting period, taking the reader on an extraordinary adventure back in time. One of the first things to capture my attention when I opened the book was the font used and the delicate artwork depicted at the beginning of every chapter. It felt very appropriate to the time, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the story.
The Seventh Passenger is a complicated and sophisticated mystery with an incredible cast of characters led by the inquisitorial DI Lorcan O’Dowd. This is not just a story about the Titanic. It is an intricate and excellently woven mystery that will keep any reader guessing right to the end.
[ Bio ]
Angie Rowe has lived all her life in Dublin. She is a qualified librarian and works in a psychiatric hospital, as well as in a child and adolescent mental health service in Dublin. She has co-authored several academic articles on mental health and on librarianship. She began writing fiction in 2017 when she was given a voucher for a writing class. The gift proved to be a revelation. The Seventh Passenger is her first published print novel.
Twitter ~ @AngieRo11834181