Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Hindenburg Murders by Max Allan Collins

The Hindenburg Murder by Max Allan Collins

Main character: Mystery writer Leslie Charteris
Location: In flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Lakehurst, New Jersey
Time period: 1937
Genre: Fiction, Historical Mystery
Series: The Disaster Series #2

Some time ago, our library added downloadable eAudiobooks from NetLibrary to our collection. At that time, I had dial-up service and knew that attempts to download such good-sized files would be exercises in frustration. But now I have graduated to high-speed internet and have a little Sony Walkman MP3 player, so I have plunged into audiobooks with a vengeance. One of the first books I've listened to is The Hindenburg Murder by Max Allan Collins, part of his Disaster series which places famous writers at the scene of famous disasters--in this case, Leslie Charteris, author of The Saint series, on the final voyage of the doomed dirigible Hindenburg.

Leslie Charteris actually flew on the maiden voyage of the Hindenburg, but Collins takes some literary license and puts him on this flight as well. Because he is traveling solo and space is limited, Charteris is assigned a cabin-mate, a personable young man who is (Charteris discovers) an SS officer seeking evidence of anti-Nazi sentiment among the passengers--and finding plenty of it. On the second morning of the flight, Charteris finds that his roommate has disappeared--and a small piece of an orange silk tie caught in a window indicates that he was tossed off the ship in mid-flight.

I enjoyed the story, which spends more time on the ambiance and characters than it does on investigating the murder. Collins has researched his subject well, and that research is obvious throughout. Who knew that the Hindenburg had a smoking room that could only be entered through an airlock in the bar? And of course there is always the knowledge in the back of the mind that disaster is looming and many of the characters we encounter will not survive the voyage.

Since I listened, rather than read, this book, I must mention the reader, Jeff Woodman. He has a very pleasant voice and did an excellent job with the many accents in the story--British, German, Texan, New York Jewish. I found it interesting that when his German characters were speaking in German, they spoke without an accent--which makes sense when you think about it.

I enjoyed this recording so much that I have downloaded the two others available--The Titanic Murders and The Pearl Harbor Murders. I am happy to note that Jeff Woodman narrates those as well. There are three other books in the series--set during the London Blitz, the Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast, and the final voyage of the Lusitania.

1 comment:

Dan said...

For more info about the Hindenburg, Airships.net is mentioned in the acknowledgments of Max Collins' book:


You can also search for Charteris: