This is the fifth book in Hunter’s Passport to Peril series, this time set in Australia. Emily Andrews returns as a tour guide for a group of seniors including her lottery-winning grandmother. Nana, a bit of a tightwad despite having all that money, takes photos using a Polaroid, deeming digital cameras beyond her budget. It is through her incessant photo-taking that the plot plods along. Guy Madelyn, a professional photographer specializing in weddings and beefcake photography, stands in awe of Nana’s skill with the Polaroid, but it is her subject matter that impresses others of the group.
One of the tour group ends up dead, two of Nana’s photos go missing, and the mystery is on. A minor plotline deals with Emily Andrews’ indecision about her two potential lovers, the retired detective Etienne Miceli and tour director Duncan Lazarus. This accounts for her seemingly inappropriate wardrobe - else why would she wear “a strapless black number with a peekaboo cutout in the back” and “stiletto slides” to the tour’s meet-and-greet in Port Campbell? Though it may be a nice fantasy to have two gorgeous men following you around with bated breath, it doesn’t serve the story well. Neither does her depiction of elderly tourists from Iowa as childlike, socially inept poor dressers who need a keeper.
This is a mildly amusing book, appropriate reading on a long bus trip. The mystery is weak, the characters are a bit one-dimensional, but still Hunter has a few moments when she is genuinely funny. The rest of the time her attempts at wit need a laugh track to remind the reader to smile.