Sail Away by Celia Imrie

Review published on February 15, 2018.

I’m a huge fan of Celia Imrie – on the screen. Thanks to her (and Victoria Wood) a character called Philippa made it onto the screen in the wonderful ‘Dinner Ladies’. But this is the first of her books I have read, which is set mainly on a huge luxury cruise liner.

There are some interesting characters. Suzy is probably based on Celia as an actress ‘of a certain age’ but in Suzy’s case one scrabbling around for work to earn some cash. She finds herself in Zurich with a two bit theatre company ready to perform Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest. There are strange characters amongst the cast, particularly young Jason Scott, who after an evening at a party organised by the producers tells Suzy their lives are in danger and they must leave the country.

Meanwhile, back in London, Amanda is a widow trying to downsize from her family home and having to deal with her troublesome adult children and their dramas. When there are problems with the lawyers and moving, Amanda books herself on a cruise from Southampton to New York.

Imrie has used a lot of her acting experience to describe Suzy’s ‘acting’ workshops and lectures and the personalities of many of the passengers, which are funny and read well.

But the plot revolves around a murder, theft and other unsavoury activities that are thrown in the mix and, although enjoyable in its way, it all felt a bit like ‘Rosemary and Thyme’ with the TV detectives taken out of the garden and put on ship.

But there will be a market for this book and others by Imrie – I did wonder whether she was floating (no pun intended!) the idea of an elderly lady detective agency led by Suzy and Amanda?

Of course, if you consider the number of people crammed onto a cruise ship these days and the potential for Celia herself to be on board signing copies I would think this novel might do very well!

As a personal read it was OK to pass an evening and I think many book clubs might well enjoy reading this, especially those attended by regular cruise holiday makers!

Philipa Coughlan 3/4

Sail Away by Celia Imrie
Bloomsbury Publishing 9781408883228 hbk Feb 2018


Author meets Reviewer: Clare Harvey meets Philipa Coughlan


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