Crooked Island

Victoria McKernan, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $18.95 (254p) ISBN 978-0-88184-998-1
Exhilarating nautical passages make up in part for lack of credibility in the latest adventure, after Point Deception , of sultry diver/detective Chicago Nordejoong, whose heritage is both Viking and Caribbean. McKernan poses an ambitious hypothesis: What if the British royal line was disrupted during Jacobean times, and the true heir to the crown was dispatched to a Caribbean exile? At Mayaguana, not far from the site of an early 18th-century shipwreck, Chicago and her adventurer/lover Alex join up with a salvage captain, two American brothers, a spunky kid and, unbeknownst to the team, a representative of the British Government and a member of a right-wing offshoot of the Scottish National Party. All are anxious to find the iron coffin of James Francis Edward, son of James II who, born in 1688, was switched with another infant and spirited away to Jamaica, where he grew up, married and produced an heir. McKernan adroitly navigates flashbacks to the stormy history of the Stuart line, where plots and alliances were abundant, but she is adrift in present day Scottish politics. Most bizarre are moments featuring the real-life character of Prince Charles, who suspects a plot to usurp his right to the throne and gets in on the action in a charmless, plodding manner. Although the plot is ingeniously conceived, too many tacks stall the narrative's momentum. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993
Release date: 03/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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