Webb Carrick #10--in case you've forgotten, he's the Edinburgh-based Chief Officer of Her Majesty's Fishing Protection cruiser Marlin, and this year he's setting sail somewhat bitterly, having drawn the dull duty of collecting by-election ballot boxes from offshore islands in the Brannan Sound. However, his base of operations--fishing village Feanport on the mainland--is hopping with clan feuds, accusations of witchery and worse (why is rich Dorothy Vullan known as the Witch of the Isles?), and a drowned-dead constable or two. A ruthless gang is at work, no doubt, trying to get control of a new sound-fishing system--or is it something more vital, something the Ministry of Defense has an interest in? Carrick is never unpleasant company, but this voyage is more insistently nautical and languidly talky than most; if docking details or rambling burrs make you at all drowsy, keep your feet dry this time around.