Winter in June
Third in Haines’s Rosie Winter mystery series, this outing finds the World War II-era actress on a steamer to the South Pacific with best gal pal Jayne and three other actresses to be in a USO show. Her motives are personal rather than patriotic; she’s in search of her ex-boyfriend Jack, a Navy man gone missing. The discovery of a dead woman in the water at the docks is not a propitious start to the journey; nor does the murder of a fellow actress during a show contribute to morale.
I’ve been a fan of this series for the first two books, and the third increases my admiration for Haines and her protagonist. In the first two, Haines brought wartime New York to vivid life, and in Winter in June she brings the reader to the war itself. Rosie, her fellow actresses, and the men with whom they are stationed are alternately bored and terrified. Wartime politicking abounds, and Rosie is almost blackballed for daring to express the opinion that “Japs” are people too who shouldn’t be tortured. Haines has an ear for the dialogue of the 1940s, and in Rosie, she’s created a heck of a dame.