|Plot Summary of A Watery Grave|
St. Martin's, Oct 2004, 23.95, 288 pp.
In 1838 Norfolk, someone takes a shot at half Maori William “Wiki” Coffin, Jr. before fleeing the area. Wiki next sees the corpse of a woman in his boat. The Sheriff arrests Wiki for murdering Mrs. Tristam Stanton, wife of the expedition's astronomer. However, not long afterward, the Sheriff frees the “darkie” though he has no papers. Instead he believes that the killer is on the ship the Ex. Ex. already sailing on an exploration expedition in the South Seas. Since Wiki is a linguist with the expedition, the Sheriff asks him to investigate the murder on board the vessel.
As Wiki catches up to the ship, he also begins making inquiries. However, he finds the crew's bias towards his race and national origin makes it difficult to obtain answers as well as delineate who is simply a bigot from a killer. Still, Wiki persists even as the ship is wracked with blunders, confusion, and dangerous decisions that almost sinks the effort before reaching the destination let alone solve a homicide.
This is a terrific historical mystery with the emphasis on real events and relationships circa 1838.
This synopsis report prepared by Harriet Klausner
|Chapter Analysis of A Watery Grave|
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
descript. of violence and chases - 10%
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 40%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 40%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 10%
Tone of story
- suspenseful (sophisticated fear)
How difficult to spot villain?
- Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues
Time/era of story:
- 19th century
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
Kind of investigator
- amateur citizen investigator
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Any non-mystery subplot?
- minority/women/homosexual issues
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
- navy soldier
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Amount of dialog
- significantly more dialog than descript
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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