A Watery Grave, Joan Druett

Read this recently for a mystery book club - I thought the premise was brilliant: the protagonist is a half-Maori, half-American linguist named Wiki Coffin aboard an 1836 exploratory mission, trying to solve a series of murders. This is the first in the series.

I loved the setting and concept. Most of Druett's previous work is history, and I felt the book still bore the stamp, which is great if you're into the historical details, but occasionally felt disconnected from the plot. What didn't work for me in the end, besides this question of balance, was that the 'detective' figures out the key to unraveling the initial murder after his side-kick (but in time to rescue him, although the rescue itself was exciting).