Mystery writer Jessica Fletcher takes a three-night train trip with her friend and his railroad association through scenic British Columbia. But when a member of the entourage takes a sip of a Bloody Mary and dies, police begin investigating.
The suspects gather in the Starlight Express dinner car, and it's up to Jessica to do some unplanned sleuthing before everyone's plans are derailed by death.
At the invitation of Cabot Cove denizen Reggie Weems, TV's Jessica Fletcher takes a murderous jaunt by rail through British Columbia in the 20th competently constructed "collaboration" between her and real-life mystery writer Bain. Not long into the trip, which is sponsored by the Track and Rail Club, the club's wealthy and domineering president, Al Blevin, falls victim to a poisoned cocktail. Jessica and Reggie do their best to assist an RCMP detective, Christian Marshall, in sorting out the various suspects. The victim had engendered strong feelings in a number of other club members, and he had also incurred the hatred of his stepson, Benjamin Vail, whose father had disappeared mysteriously on a previous rail journey. As the train continues on its way, Jessica gets to know her fellow travelers better and keeps on the trail of the killer. The authors telegraph an important clue early on, allowing seasoned mystery fans to get to the truth ahead of Mrs. Fletcher. In novel form, Jessica has little personality, and thus readers will have to keep the image of Angela Lansbury firmly in mind to endow the sleuth with the qualities viewers of "Murder, She Wrote" appreciated.