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A thief is loose aboard HMS Queen Victoria, and four amateur detectives are hell-bent on tracking him down. Unprepared for the evidence that their sleuthing activities will uncover – a reel of compromising film, a blood-soaked stateroom bunk, a lethally sharp razor and an emerald elephant – they find themselves sinking deeper into misadventure and pandemonium.

But when the boat arrives in Southampton harbour, another passenger, mystery writer Henry Morgan, calls in the famous Dr Gideon Fell – who identifies sixteen clues that lead him to the murderer.