The Last Full Measure: A Katy Green Mystery

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Those who love the music of the big band era will enjoy Glatzer's lightweight third Katy Green historical (after 2004's A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen), which portrays the life of working musicians (or, more often, looking-for-work musicians) with authority and charm. The basic setup has strong dramatic potential: Katy Green, who plays fiddle and alto sax in an all-girl band working on a cruise ship bound for Honolulu in late 1941, is offended by the anti-Japanese racism she encounters in other passengers, just days before the Pearl Harbor attack. But atmosphere and sensitivity by themselves can't carry a weak plot. Make that two weak plots. For this story has two separate plot threads, which never get tied together. One fizzles to a dead end, and seems designed primarily to exhibit the author's knowledge of Hawaiian history. The other, involving several murders aboard ship, rests precariously on the most oblique of motives. Readers who can ignore all this in favor of nostalgia will be rewarded with a pleasant trip. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The days before America's entry into World War II are darkened by a murder with ugly racist overtones. It all starts on Friday, Nov. 21, 1941, when swing violinist and sometime sleuth Katy Green (Too Dead to Swing, 2001, etc.) gets an unexpected call from her musician pals Ivy and Lillian with an offer she can't refuse: playing aboard the luxury liner Lurline on a Hawaiian cruise. Fronting the makeshift band, which calls itself "Swingin' Sarongs," is Hawaiian singer Roselani Akau, who deftly mixes native tunes with standards. Katy scores a major coup by arranging for famous composer and pianist Phillip DeMorro to play with the Sarongs. DeMorro is decidedly homosexual, but Katy has better dating luck with a quartet of fun-loving Japanese-American servicemen, including Shunichi "Danny Boy" Ohara. The surprise arrival of Roselani's twin brother Bill, a competitive surfer, sends a ripple of excitement through the Lurline. Bill and Lillian are an item, a fact they soft-pedal in front of Roselani. And there's another secret: Lillian tells Katy that Bill has talked her into a plan to dig up a family treasure buried in Hawaii. But before they can, someone murders Bill. There's no mystery why Danny Boy is arrested for the crime. But can Katy free him? The bombing of Pearl Harbor figures prominently in the climax. Glatzer's ambitious mix of mystery and history hits all the right notes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880284841
  • Publisher: Daniel, John & Company, Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/15/2006
  • Pages: 289
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An excellent atmospheric historical novel

    Swing musician Katy Green is going from job to job in November of 1941 in New York City and surrounding areas to make ends meet since musicians are paid poorly when a phone call has her traveling to California. Her friends, who she played with in a band last year, want her to join them on a well paying gig on the Lurline sailing to Hawaii with a possibility of further employment with the cruise line.----- When she arrives in San Francisco she meets the lead singer, Hawaiian Roselani Akau. When the band boards the ship Katy learns that the band wants her to join them to look for treasure on the Big Island. Also on board the ship is Roselani¿s brother Bill who wants to get to the treasure first. While Katy ponders what to do about the treasure hunt, she stumbles over the murdered body of Bill. With anti-Japanese sentiment running high, one of the Japanese crew is arrested for the homicide. Katy doesn¿t think he¿s guilty and after she deals with the treasure hunt, she intends to look for clues that will exonerate the jailed man not realizing that she is putting her life in danger.------ Readers gain a different viewpoint on the events leading to the war in the Pacific as American imperialism and manifest destiny are seen through the eyes of a pure blooded Hawaiian who worries that her people will become assimilated. The feelings towards the Japanese, even those who are second generation Hawaiian citizens shows the fear and hatred that existed towards them prior to Pearl Harbor. Besides being an excellent atmospheric historical novel the mystery is brilliantly crafted with the killer hidden in plain sight.----- Harriet Klausner

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