A new entry in the historical mystery genre—with a slightly different tack. The time is the early 1800s, the place the English coastal towns of Weymouth and Portsmouth. Lieutenant Bartholomew Hoare of the Royal Navy lives in Portsmouth, though he’s not been on active duty since a musket ball crushed his larynx, leaving him unable to speak above a whisper. He now works under Portsmouth’s Port Admiral Sir George Hardcastle but longs for sea duty and is only slightly comforted by sailing his eccentric little yacht. His rescue one day of spunky Eleanor Graves from a pair of thugs introduces him to the woman’s wheelchair-bound doctor husband and to their friend, Canadian quarry owner Edward Morrow. Soon after, Hoare is called on to investigate the murder of Captain Adam Hay of the navy ship Vantage. His perceptive sleuthing quite rapidly proves the innocence of Lieutenant Arthur Gladden, the officer accused. Hoare names the true culprit and, in a more difficult assignment, exposes the driving force behind several devastating explosions aboard Navy vessels, his feats of detection bringing him the promise of an active command at last. Newcomer Perkins vividly conjures up time, place, and a slightly overlarge cast of characters—humble menials, small-time crooks, self-important officials, and deep-dyed villains. And Hoare is a beguiling hero whose painstakingly described feats aboard his small yacht will endear him to anyone with a love of sailing.