Polaris by Jack McDevitt
This is one of McDevitt’s Alex Benedict stories.
The story is, in effect, a mystery. However, it doesn't proceed like most mysteries. It doesn't begin with an obvious crime, although there is the mysterious disappearance of the people aboard the spaceship Polaris. After the disappearance, we jump ahead 60 years - when there is no longer any active investigation. The central characters aren't police, private eyes or consulting detectives. Nor do they feel any need to look into the case for the first 1/4 or more of the book.
The book seems to present us with a rather advanced human civilization thousands of years in our future (FTL starships with artificial gravity, a galactic confederation, anti-gravity flying cars, houses and cars controlled by AI's, etc.) At the same time, its descriptions of human lives and institutions would not seem out of place if dropped into a novel about the 1970's.
Our protagonists are antiquities dealers – Alex Benedict and his assistant, Chase. (Most of the things that are “antiques” to them are items belonging to our future.) Items from the spaceship Polaris had been put into storage as part of the investigations into the disappearances. Now, the government agency in charge has gotten to the point of preparing to make public exhibits of the items - and to sell a few items to a couple of well-connected people (including Benedict). Our antiquities dealer manages to get the items he has bought out of the building before an explosion destroys the rest of the collection.
Benedict sells his items to some favored clients. Soon afterwards, those clients are approached by people under various pretenses who end up wanting to look over the Polaris items. This gets Benedict's curiosity up enough that he arranges to watch when someone comes to see the last client's Polaris item. Afterwards, Benedict and Chase try to follow the visitor to find out who he really is. But on the way, someone else shoots down Benedict's flying car. At this point they know something really serious is going on. They begin to do real "detective work."
The book then enters a phase in which there is both investigation and attempts to have Benedict and Chase have an "unfortunate accident". Getting out of those predicaments also requires interesting problem solving.
It’s an elaborate mystery. The problem solving to escape death traps will certainly offer something for those looking for scientific understanding in action. But on the whole, the book may not appeal to those who don’t care for mystery stories.