Another amusing period naval adventure in the Halfhyde series, this one featuring, more than ever, Halfhyde's senior officer--the olympian, pompous snob Captain Watkiss, a snorting, asinine model of towering self-interest. That damned villain, Sir Russell Savory (whom Halfhyde captured in the last novel while the traitor was trying to sell British naval secrets to the Germans), has escaped from Portsmouth and is believed heading toward South America. And hot on his trail is Watkiss, who now commands the Meridian, an outmoded battleship being sold by Her Majesty to Chile--to which country the ship must be delivered. This entails sailing around Cape Horn in the old metal tub, the sailing highpoint of the novel (later there's some climactic gunnery and military tactics at Valparaiso), while additional fun is gotten from others aboard the Meridian: Detective Inspector Todhunter, who is to arrest Savory; and Petrie-Smith, a Foreign Office representative in disguise as crewmember, who is comically kicked about by Watkiss throughout the novel. Plus: Watkiss must get elderly Admiral Daintree out of the Chilean jail into which he's been thrown for insulting that country's flag . . . while a small German fleet is outpacing Watkiss to Valparaiso in an effort to interfere with British trade. Effortless reading for pre-WW I nautical buffs, carried by effective satire and hopping melodrama.