Daneet Steffens
March 16, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Cruises, grouses one character halfway through Jance’s latest novel, should be ”all beautiful sunsets and romantic dinners, not murders and disappearances.” Well, not when Seattle homicide detective J. P. Beaumont surfaces incongruously on the luxury liner Starfire Breeze. He’s there to chaperone his 86-year-old grandmother and her husband on their Alaskan honeymoon, but with the onset of foul play, landlubber Beaumont has more to worry about than his tendency towards seasickness. Sporting antinausea bracelets, he soon has his hands full juggling an extreme group called Leave It to God, a nosy journalist, and, yes, even a little shipboard romance in Birds of Prey, a taut, entertaining mystery.

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