Avid Series Reader's Reviews > Shark Island

Shark Island by Joan Druett
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Shark Island by Joan Druett is the second book of the Wiki Coffin mystery series set on the Atlantic Ocean in October 1838, during the US Exploring Expedition. Wiki Coffin is half Maori, officially on the expedition as the Linguist (translator). Before the fleet departed Virginia, Wiki was deputized by the sheriff to solve crimes at sea (which he did in the first book, A Watery Grave).

Wiki's happy to be sailing with his good friend Captain George Rochester once again. The fleet heads for Shark Island, where they expect to find pirates. They find a shipwreck, with another ship aground and leaking from its hull. Officers Lieutenant Forsythe and Midshipman Kingman go aboard to meet Captain Reid. As they depart, Reid is found dead, stabbed in his cabin.

Forsythe is the obvious suspect. Although Wiki and Forsythe dislike each other, Wiki believes it's a frame-up. Wiki is commanded to investigate and solve the crime. He interviews crew members and notes discrepancies, requiring more follow-up. Meanwhile the expedition crew helps the stranded crew repair their ship. Kingman has been missing a few days before Wiki accidentally finds him - dead, underwater. More investigation ensues.

Wiki's acute observation and careful questioning solve the crimes. All his strength, agility and quick reflexes are needed to save himself from attack. A final key clue reveals another killer, just in time. As they finally sail away from Shark Island, Wiki realizes where the legendary stolen treasure is buried. He decides to keep the knowledge to himself; too many lives have been lost already.

Rich with historic nautical detail of life on board ship: accommodation of officer vs. crew, uniforms, meals, commanding officer rivalry, crew tasks and schedules. In rare idle moments Wiki shares cultural legends with Samoan crew members.
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