The Last Full Measure
Number three in the continuing mystery-solving adventures of itinerant 1940s swing band musician Katy Green is measurably better than number two, A Fugue in Hell’s Kitchen (2004), but still not nearly as fine as number one, Too Dead to Swing (2002). The setting of Katy’s latest adventure is an ocean liner headed for Hawai’i in December, 1941, and right away you know what that means. As part of an all-girl group hired to entertain the passengers, you might think impending events would be trouble enough, but not so.
There is a murder on board, but one with no real suspects, so once in Hawai’i, there is nothing to forestall a side journey to locate a treasure buried by native Hawai’ians during a failed insurrection against the haoles in control of the islands many years before.
This recitation of historical events requires a couple of short lectures, which, while necessary, also slows the action to a crawl. Soon enough it is back to the still-unsolved murder, committed by one of the dumbest villains in print, magnified by two events having probabilities of say, one in a million each. Other than that, the travelogue and the on-board camaraderie are nicely done and may be in themselves worth the price of admission. The author knows his music, and it shows.