Dr. Simon Shaw is spending  Thanksgiving weekend with friends on the beach. The idea is to spend time with the kids, relax with a paperback, walk on the beach, eat great food — and maybe get another chance with the lovely Julia.

Instead, Shaw is called in to help local police when a body turns up in a WWII diving suit, accompanied by Confederate gold. Shaw, a historian, is fascinated in spite of himself: there are so many questions to answer.

Who is the mystery man in the old photo? Why do all the people staying at the beach seem to be connected with old ties? Are they all keeping secrets… together? And is it Confederate gun runners or Nazi U-boats that Shaw ought to be researching?

The story is well plotted, with just enough human drama to keep the puzzle from feeling too academic. You’ll also learn interesting things about the history and the natural history of the Carolina coast. The information is woven seamlessly into the story.

No stock characters in this book, either. It’s a book full of interesting people, facts, and ideas as well as a good story.

(Starred review)