Does dreaming you are dead mean that you really die? The question came to Tori slowly
as she stirred from oblivious sleep, stretching her feet between the smooth sheets,
twisting her hips to a more comfortable position, and finally opening her eyes enough
to see that it was day. “Wake up, Van Camp,” she mumbled, but her dread did not dissipate
as nightmares do when faced with sunlight.
As full memory returned, Tori’s eyes opened fully. She clutched her chest, dreading
the warm, sticky blood certain to be there. A man had aimed a pistol directly at
her. A twitch of his hand, an odd thumping noise, and after that, she recalled nothing.
The hand at her chest felt nothing unusual. There was no blood, and she was perfectly
whole. Still, the image of death did not recede. The memory became more vivid, not
less, the feeling that it had really happened more intense. Tori could almost hear
the doorbell, her footsteps as she went to answer it, the few words spoken, and the
It was not that she felt dead, and a glance at a mirror to her right revealed that
she did not look dead, either. Was her impression of death a dream? It had to be,
and yet, it was so clear.
Three crisp knocks on the door startled her out of her reverie. On the other side
of the door was a petite blond woman with darkly tanned skin and more makeup than
a CNN anchor. “Ms. Van Camp? I’m Cinda, your hostess. How was your rest?” The words
came in the professionally caring tone that people such as nurses and waitresses
seem required under oath to adopt.
“Um, fine,” Tori replied uncertainly.
“Super!” Cinda exclaimed, more excited by the reply than was necessary. “Rest is
the best thing.”
Confused by the banal opening remarks, Tori tried to ignore the woman’s perfume and
over-the-top cheeriness. “I have some questions.”
“Of course you do.” Cinda tilted her head coquettishly. She was definitely of the
perky persuasion, and while the ability to be upbeat at all times might be admirable,
Tori suspected it often came from a superficial understanding of circumstances.
“Okay, let’s see. Your questions will be answered at…” she held a clipboard and,
pulling a pencil with an abrupt rip from a little Velcro pad that secured it, used
its point to make her way down a sheet of names. “…ten this morning, Office 112 D,
if that’s convenient for you.” The reference to Tori’s convenience must have been
pure diplomacy, since she did not wait for a reply. “Until then, you’re free to explore,
okay? Breakfast is here on Deck E, and the fitness center on D is open all the time.
You might get a massage, take a sauna, or visit the gym.”
“But I don’t understand what’s happened.”
“That’s why you’re meeting Nancy at ten. Until then, enjoy the facilities.”
Young secretary Tori Van Camp wakes one morning on a luxurious ocean liner where she is offered whatever a person might desire: food, clothes, recreation, and the companionship of congenial people. But Tori has no memory of booking a cruise. What she does have is a vivid recollection of being shot point blank in the chest.
With the help of the stunningly handsome Mike and the unnervingly serene Nancy, Tori soon learns the purpose of her voyage. Still, she is haunted by the image of the gun, the crack of the shot, and the malevolent face of the shooter. Who wanted her dead, and why?
Determined to find out, Tori enlists the help of Seamus, an eccentric but shrewd detective. Together they embark on an investigation unlike anything Tori ever thought possible. Death is all around, the future is uncertain, and if Tori does not act quickly, two people she cares about are prime candidates for murder.
Peg Herring lives in beautiful northern Michigan with her husband of many decades. She writes historical, vintage, and contemporary mysteries that feature strong women with great stories. Her mystery series set in Tudor England focuses on Elizabeth Tudor, who enlists the help of Simon Maldon, a crippled apothecary, when there are crimes to be solved. The first in the series, Her Highness’ First Murder, released from Five Star Press in January of 2010. Also in 2010, Herring released her first e-book with Red Rose Publishing, a Vietnam-era mystery called Go Home and Die.