According to GoodReads, I've read eight books by Nevil Shute. This one is the ninth, and the one I've liked the least. The first half rather dragged. Then it got more Shute-like, and I did rather like the last half or so. Still, I think that, if you're trying Shute out for the first time, you'll find better books than this to begin sampling his work. This is ok, but as I just said, not his best, IMHO.
The story revolves around a rather ordinary man, Keith Stewart, who has a hobby of making small models of things in his basement machine shop. He builds little engines, electricity generators, clocks, and such like. He's quite the accomplished designer and machinist. He writes articles about his creations for a hobby magazine, Miniature Mechanics
His brother-in-law and his spouse decide to move to Vancouver. But they thought to make the trip in their sail boat. They leave their daughter in the care of the Stewart and his spouse. Before going off, however, they call on Stewart's engineering skills to bury a sealed box, allegedly containing some of the wife's jewels, into the keel of their boat.
Well, they shipwreck on a coral reef in the South Pacific and die. Keith Stewart is left as the trustee of his niece's alleged fortune. It turns out that there doesn't appear to be much to the fortune. Shortly before leaving, the brother-in-law had converted all his assets into diamonds, and no one knows where the diamonds might be. But Stewart has an idea that he needs to get to the South Pacific to find the wreck and to discover what exactly was in that box he had implanted into the keel. Perhaps it's his niece's inheritance.
So, anyway, we follow Stewart's trip to the South Pacific and his work there. He has no money, so contrives to get to one place and another by the seat of his pants, so to speak. It turns out that his fame from having written all those articles in Miniature Mechanics
opens up a few doors for him. Like all Shute books, there's a lot about sailing and engineering. I found some of it a bit more tedious than in all previous Shute books I've read. But still, all in all, it's a pretty GoodRead. I'm discovering that one pretty much can't go wrong with Nevil Shute.