REVIEW: Canary Yellow by Elizabeth Cadell
Elaine Tracy wins a luxury cruise to Las Palmas for her fiancé and herself. They quarrel, and Elaine breaks off the engagement but decides to go on the cruise alone. Attractive and unattached, once on board she inevitably draws a certain amount of masculine attention and for her the holiday promises to be extremely diverting. But not all her fellow passengers, she discovers, are quite what they seem.
Darlynne mentioned this book in the comments of the review of my first Cadell. Luckily I had already bought it but it took me a while to get to it. As in ‘The Green Empress,” this story has a mystery in it though it takes a good while to get there. The first part of the book covers the shipboard trip that Elaine Tracy takes from London to Las Palmas. After she won the tickets, she presented them to her fiance of five years with the intention of discovering how serious he was about getting married. She quickly found out that the answer was: not very. Deciding to go on her own, she splurged a lot of the money she’d been saving towards marriage on new clothes instead. Fate and a photographer throw her together with a tall, dark and handsome young man but TDH’s scowl presages Elaine’s interactions with him for the whole voyage.
Elaine is a good humored young woman and quickly attracts shipboard attention. Her two roommates are studies in differences with one being uptight and stern while the other has the looks of a sex siren crossed with the heart of a housewife. There’s also a happy-go-lucky young man who appears to be falling for Elaine as well as a courtly older gentleman known to Elaine’s godfather. Then there’s the surprise meeting Elaine has with a woman she met briefly in London who runs at the sight of Elaine. What’s with that?
Arriving in Las Palmas, all the characters continue to meet and interact. All except for a woman who ends up committing suicide. Or did she? Soon the police are involved in discovering exactly what happened and who is responsible. Meanwhile, Elaine is discovering that first impressions aren’t always correct.
Once again Elizabeth Cadell concocts an intricate, frothy plot of a novel. I will say that the cover is all kinds of wrong as Elaine is blonde while I couldn’t imagine Charles wearing shorts. Though I immediately knew who the hero would be, it takes quite a while for the romance to get started as both hero and heroine bristle at the sight of each other for a lengthy amount of time. It’s only when the hero decides to do the heroine a good turn that things shift. Of course then he’s slightly miffed at her because he’s now involved in the murder investigation. That’s alright as Elaine isn’t above letting him stew a little in jealousy over a potential rival.
Pay attention to the little details because therein lies the key to solving the mystery and catching the killer. I switched back and forth about who I thought dunnit as there are a few potential suspects and some possible alibis.
Meanwhile it takes a mule, a peasant and a cart full of pineapples to bring our hero to the point of declaration. After one false start the night before, he finally gets it right.
“You see the difference?” she enquired.
“Yes,” he acknowledged. “There was a world of difference. Last night you let me kiss you. Today….”
“I knew you’d get the idea,” she said tranquilly.
“Elaine … do you love me?”
“Would I kiss you like that if I didn’t?”
Then after the killer is caught, there’s the wedding to be brought off in London, something which does drive Elaine’s easy going brother-in-law to drink. As the bride processes down the aisle, James muses that there hadn’t been time to coach the bridegroom.
“…they shouldn’t have let him turn round and watch her coming down the aisle, but there hadn’t been time to coach him; he’d arrived only the night before. There was something on his face, a look of… You couldn’t see the bride’s face under all that mosquito netting, but she was no doubt looking equally rapt. It was no wonder that mothers burst into loud sobs at this juncture; he could shed a tear himself.
This is another winner for me as I knew that despite the murder mystery investigation, there would be a romance before the end. B