St. Martin’s, Dec 2007, $24.95
In 1839 U.S. Exploring Expedition ship Swallow reaches Patagonia. However, in Patagonia, an outraged whaler Captain Stackpole demands the Shallow’s sheriff’s representative, navigator and “linguister” Wiki Coffin arrest trader Caleb Adams. Stackpole claims he bought a schooner from Adams, but the scoundrel vanished with his money without handing over the vessel or a bill of sale.
Wiki makes inquiries into where Adams may have gone. However, when he catches up to the trader, he meets a dead man. Someone murdered Adams and a clerk working at the trader’s store. The bill of sale remains missing. As Wiki continues his expanded investigation into what happened to the receipt and who killed Adams and the clerk, he remains ignorant to the fact that the killer is observing his every move in case he gets too close to the truth.
This is a terrific nineteenth century mystery that brings to life Patagonia through the various people the half Maori hero meets on his navigating work but especially his investigation. Wiki in his fourth appearance remains a strong fascinating protagonist who is amazed to learn how diverse the world is. Although the historical aspects at times supersede the whodunit forcing an abrupt climax, fans will enjoy sailing with Wiki as he RUNS AFOUL of his employer, Gauchos, and Indians.