Poisoned Palms: The Murder of Mrs. Jane Lathrop Stanford
Hattie Lehua is a half-Hawaiian bookkeeper at the Palms Hotel in Waikiki in 1905. She is a bright, reliable young woman who dreams of attaining a higher position within the hotel. When an opportunity to act as Mrs. Jane Lathrop Stanford’s assistant arises during the matron’s visit to Hawaii, Hattie takes the temporary position; a letter of recommendation from “the Mother of Stanford University” would be a great asset to her career. When Mrs. Stanford dies at the Palms, it appears that she may have been poisoned, but what is the truth?
Hattie is caught up in events, and attempts to solve the mystery surrounding her benefactress and new friend. Was Mrs. Stanford’s death a plot to control the fate of Stanford University? Was it part of a plan to annex Hawaii to California? A Royalist plot, to restore Queen Lili’uokalani to the Hawaiian throne? A jealous impulse from her controlling traveling companion? Was she even really poisoned?
Buckingham has clearly done a tremendous amount of research on the history of Hawaii and the Stanford case, and imagines her own theory on what could have happened, providing the reader with an interesting dose of historical knowledge along the way.