McCutchan is a late discovery for me, after reading some mediocre pulp-fiction potboilers by folks who keep throwing the same cliched situations and phrases at you. I was delighted to finally encounter the Halfhyde series --I've read four of them so far and will try to get those o/p titles as they are available. Halfhyde, the irascible Commander Watkiss, and a score of other characters fill these books with believable, sometimes hilarious and always exciting adventures that show a real grasp of the historical and diplomatic/cultural context. Victoria Penn, Halfhyde's Mistress and traveling companion appears late in the series but she is one of the most intriguing female characters I've encountered. Not expected in a genre where the women are usually cardboard caricatures. McCutchan's books are not only wonderfully entertaining but they provide real insight into the late Victorian navy, its officers and its milieu. Highly recommended.
As a postscript, I notice that some reviewers are miffed about the author's apparent bias against and caricaturing of Chileans, especially their naval officers. This is unfortunate and I agree that he may have had some bad experience with the Chileans that fueled this bias. There is no question that the author shares his character Watkiss's animus against the Chileans (or "dagoes" as he calls them). That said, McCutchan is both entertaining and edifying, at least with respect to the British navy's practices and ethos of the 1890s.