I wasn’t going to argue. I wanted nothing more than to turn away and get back to the Mambo Club and the champagne we left chilling at our table. However, there was a dead body a few feet from Amelia Earhart’s plane, and she’d asked for our help.
Newlyweds Jake Donovan and Laura Wilson are celebrating their recent nuptials in Hawaii, soaking up the sun and sipping tropical drinks out of coconuts. The honeymoon is over when a dead man is found in a hangar at Wheeler Field, right next to Amelia Earhart’s plane. Earhart, in Hawaii to prepare for a historic solo flight from the Islands to California, enlists the couple’s help to find the real killer and prevent her flight from being delayed. As they dig into the dead man’s life, Jake and Laura find they have more than enough suspects to choose from; but who hated him enough to put a bullet in his back? And why?
- Murphy’s attention to detail is always impressive. Subtle touches such as an office with a typewriter on each desk or a phonograph in an apartment pack the narrative with authenticity. Jake’s rumination on events such as the ongoing economic devastation of the Great Depression and the military advances made by Japan and Germany further demonstrates Murphy’s flair for mixing fact with fiction.
- Hawaii! Jake and Laura ride bikes past pineapple plantations and tropical forests. They lazily wander along white sand beaches and snack on shrimp cocktails. Their temporary home away from home is a small cabana right off the ocean with its own private cove. It’s a luscious locale for a mystery.
- The synergy between Jake and Laura is one of the best aspects of their relationship. Their admiration for each other is enviable, and their chemistry is palpable. Together, they make a great detective duo.
- The idea that war is on the horizon has been slowly building in each of the previous Jake and Laura novels. The tension only continues to mount as their adventures move closer and closer towards the 1940s; we know what is coming, but Murphy’s characters can only guess at this point.
The third installment in Murphy’s series is just as much fun as the first. The mystery is full of twists with an ample amount of red herrings, suspects, and action. The Hawaiian setting is a refreshing change from the duo’s stateside investigations, and supporting characters are fully fleshed out (particularly William “Billy” Thornton, secretary to Earhart’s husband, who tags along with Jake and Laura in the search for the killer).
Recommended for readers looking for a fast-paced mystery with plenty of amusing repartee.
* I received a free copy of this eBook from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.