From a crime/thriller perspective, Druett is known for her ‘Wiki Coffin’ mysteries set on colonial-era sailing ships, in particular the United States Exploring Expedition (the exploration, survey, and travel around the Pacific 'South Seas' by the United States Navy in 1838-1842). Wiki Coffin is a translator for the Expedition, and has been described as "a Maori detective with the physical attributes of a Hurricanes rugby player" (for you US readers, just imagine one of the Pacific Islands-descent linebackers in the NFL, and you'll get the drift).
Since first falling in love with maritime history, Druett has written 18 fiction and non-fiction books. You can read the first chapter of DEADLY SHOALS, Druett's most recent Wiki Coffin mystery novel, HERE. The Wiki Coffin series includes four novels, and at least three short stories that have been published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. Druett has also written another historical murder mystery, MURDER AT THE BRIAN BORU. You can read my 9mm interview with Druett here.
Druett is also internationally renowned as a writer of non-fiction books, usually centred on interesting aspects of maritime history, including the lives of female mariners. Her books include SHE CAPTAINS, ROUGH MEDICINE, SHE WAS A SISTER SAILOR, IN THE WAKE OF MADNESS, and ISLANDS OF THE LOST. Druett's fourth book about brave seafaring wives, HEN FRIGATES, won a place on the New York Public Library's list of 25 Best Books to Remember in 1998.
Druett has received several awards in the United States, including an award for outstanding contribution to women’s history. In 2005 Druett was appointed a consultant for an ongoing NEH-funded project with the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society, Children on Whale ships. In 2000, she was awarded a Creative New Zealand grant as well as the year long Stout Fellowship at Victoria University. Her most recent project is the story of TUPAIA, the unacknowledged Tahitian who was essential to the success, and subsequent fame, of Captain Cook's voyage on the Endeavour – to be released in both the United States (Praeger) and New Zealand (Random House) later this year.
Tonight is a great chance for those in the Wellington area to head along and meet a great Kiwi writer, an international bestseller, who juggles historic fictional and non-fiction tales equally well.
An evening with Joan Druett
Monday 28 June (tonight)
Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave Street, Wellington
NZSA members $2
Hat tip to Graham Beattie for the heads-up about the event.
Have you read any of Joan Druett's work? Her Wiki Coffin mysteries, or her maritime histories? Do you like historical mysteries? Thoughts and comments welcome.