I never thought that a subject like marine insurance could be a fascinating topic. In the hands of former police office-turned attorney Eric Ward, it becomes exactly that.
A body is found floating near the Newcastle, England docks. It’s eventually identified as a first mate who signed on with a ship at a recent port of call. He had been working on a ship that sank in the Mediterranean.
This wouldn’t necessarily affect Eric Ward or his largely commercial law practice. Eric has another problem – his wife has to invest her inheritance, and her young lawyer has already lined up a commercial insurance brokerage. Eric doesn’t like the young lawyer, and he’s suspicious of the brokerage. Through an unlikely chain of events, he ends up on the board of one of the brokerage firm’s subsidiaries, one that acts more like a shell company for moving liabilities around. One of those liabilities is marine insurance, like for the cargo boat that sank in the Mediterranean.
Soon Eric Ward finds himself battling crooks, shady executives who are borderline crooks, a retired gangster type who isn’t really retired, and what might be a rival for his wife’s affections. He takes some financial risks, and everything looks like it’s going to blow up in his face.
The Shipping Murder by British author Roy Lewis is the sixth in the Eric Ward mystery series, and it’s a top-notch tale of fraud, corruption, and murder.
Lewis is the author of some 60 other mysteries, novels, and short story collections. His Inspector Crow series includes A Lover Too Many, Murder in the Mine, The Woods Murder, Error of Judgment, and Murder for Money, among others. The Eric Ward series, of which The Sedleigh Hall Murder is the first (and originally published as A Certain Blindness in 1981), includes 17 novels. The Arnold Landon series is comprised of 22 novels. Lewis lives in northern England.
The Eric Ward mysteries were first published in the 1980s and are now being republished. What you don’t ger are stories heavily dependent upon computers, mobile phones, and DNA analyses. Instead, you get a story that focuses on characters, plot, and enough twists and turns to make you think you’re examining a corkscrew collection. The Shipping Murder is a winner – and you learn a lot about the shipping business.