Shark Island

Written by Joan Druett
Review by Chuck Curtis

In this second novel of her Wiki Coffin series, Joan Druett returns to the successful recipe she used in Watery Grave: one part Patrick O’Brian mixed with one part Agatha Christie, spiced with an alpha male who would be at home in a romance novel. The result is an enjoyable read for fans of both nautical histories and cozy mysteries.

Druett weaves her tale around the actual 1838-42 United States South Seas Exploring Expedition, a six-ship scientific voyage that set out to discover Antarctica. Before they do so, they discover two shipwrecks and two murders at an island off the Brazilian coast. The island is named Ilha Tubarao, Portuguese for Shark Island. Wiki, a man of mixed Polynesian-American blood, has no love for the racist Lieutenant Forsythe who emerges as the main murder suspect. However, Wiki’s natural skills as an investigator lead him in other directions. That’s when he discovers that the murders are not the only mysteries on Shark Island.

Readers of nautical mysteries and cozies will immediately enjoy Shark Island. However, they may find the story easier to follow if they begin with the first book in the series, Watery Grave, which has been published in paperback.