A Watery Grave - Joan Druett
Being a major fan of Patrick O'Brian, the idea of a historical detective series set in the Age of Sail (albeit from the US perspective) was always going to appeal to me, though it's taken me till now to get my hands on this first book in the series...

Our protagonist in A Watery Grave is one Wiki Coffin, half-Maori and half-American, now a sailor on his friend's ship which is part of a planned expeditionary force. Wiki is wrongly accused of murder at the outset and then deputised to investigate, given that the main suspects are sailing as part of the same fleet.

Which is a nice concept for a book, if it weren't that Wiki himself wasn't so gosh-darned perfect in every way: he speaks every language going, is a top-notch sailor and everyone loves him. Everyone except one of the characters who's set up to be a villain, and even he comes round in the end. There really is very little tension, even during the period when Wiki is imprisoned and at risk of being hanged for murder. The local library here has the second book in the series, Shark Island, so I'll probably give it a try to see if things improve, but I'm not hopeful!