Thursday, March 26, 2020

Run Afoul by Joan Druett


First Line: As he slumped exhaustedly in the cutter that pulled from the brig Swallow to the expedition flagship Vincennes, Wiki Coffin wondered if he smelled as bad as Lieutenant Forsythe.

As the Vincennes, the flagship of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, leads the convoy into the Brazilian port of Rio de Janeiro, careless maneuvering causes one of the vessels to run afoul of a Boston trading ship. Not only is this a shocking embarrassment, but the Boston trader is captained by expedition linguist Wiki Coffin's father.

The encounter reunites Captain William Coffin with his illegitimate half-Maori son and sets in motion a series of events that will see two men dead, William Coffin on trial for murder, and Wiki feverishly trying to find the real killer before the expedition leaves port.

The U.S. Exploring Expedition was a real expedition led by the eccentric Charles Wilkes. Expert maritime historian Joan Druett had the perfect idea to use this as the basis of a mystery series that would travel the world. I really enjoyed the first two books in the series, A Watery Grave, and Shark Island, so it was well past time to move on to the third book. Run Afoul did not disappoint.

I've read Joan Druett's non-fiction, and this woman knows her stuff. Every time I pick up a Wiki Coffin mystery I learn something without ever feeling as though I'm sitting in a classroom. In one Wiki Coffin mystery, I learned about firing cannons and felt as though I had to duck and run for cover. In this one, I learned about one ship running afoul of another and the nasty but necessary procedure for ridding a ship of rats.

Run Afoul has an excellent mystery that kept me guessing, and I enjoyed watching Wiki trying to solve it. Speaking of the main character, he is a bit of a rogue. This is book three, and it looks as though the young man is going to have a woman in every port, but the romance is certainly not overdone. No, Run Afoul is about the mystery, the superb setting, the fascinating Wiki Coffin, and the sea. It's an unbeatable combination for any historical mystery lover.

(If you find yourself wanting to read more about the U.S. Exploring Expedition, one of my all-time favorite non-fiction books is Nathaniel Philbrick's Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842.)

Run Afoul by Joan Druett
ISBN: 0312353367
Minotaur Books © 2006
Hardcover, 288 pages

Historical Mystery, #3 Wiki Coffin mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Book Outlet.  

8 comments:

  1. This sounds really interesting, just on the history, let alone the story itself. I always appreciate it when an author has a solid background in something and shares it (without 'information dump.') Glad you enjoyed this one, Cathy.

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    1. I've enjoyed every book by Druett that I've read.

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  2. An interesting subject hitherto not known to me. Thanks for the review.

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  3. I have the first book on my Kindle, I went investigating after I saw that you were reading this book last week. Planning to read it very soon.

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  4. How have I missed this series?! The Philbrick book was the first thing I thought of when I saw your Facebook post about this. And I love non-fiction about the Age of Sail, too. I'm off to see how, and when, I can get the first one...

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    1. Check out Druett's non-fiction as well. If I still had the first book in the Wiki Coffin series, I'd send it to you.

      You should've seen the look on Philbrick's face when I handed him my copy of Sea of Glory to sign and told him it was one of my all-time favorite books. (I think it's one of his, too.)

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