The Last Full Measure
A Katy Green Mystery, No. 3
by Hal Glatzer
The Last Full Measure is a fast-paced adventure set in Hawaii and the Pacific just
prior to Pearl Harbor. Sax- and violin-playing Katy Green and some old friends make up
the all-girl band providing onboard entertainment for a cruise between California and
Hawaii. Looks like a dream gig, especially since with luck they'll be hired on for several
more round trips. However, even before they board there are signs that the road to paradise
isn't going to be all smooth sailing and sweet dreams. Things get worse when Katy learns
about the plans Roselani, the native Hawaiian member of their group, has for their arrival
on Oahu. Plans that Roselani's brother, aligned with one of the other band members, violently
opposes. The pressure's on for Katy to pick a side, but first she has to figure out who -if
anyone- is telling her the truth. And that's before the stakes are raised to murder.
The fact that author Hal Glatzer is a musician himself shows in the musical discussions,
but also in the way he uses the rhythm of his writing to create the setting. This is the
swing era, and swing defined a culture as much as a type of music. The dialogue rat-a-tats
along from the start with a syncopated beat reminiscent of The Boogie Woogie Bugle
Boy of Company B and a vocabulary to match that catapults you straight into the time.
The geographical settings are equally vivid, particularly the time spent in a Hawaii that
clearly didn't just come from tourist brochures, with racial and cultural conflicts that
still echo today. There's also the proverbial roller coaster of a plot, with little room
to breathe and enough tangles and subplot loopdeloops to keep the reader happily engaged
and puzzled to the end.
This was an enjoyable mystery with a unique flavor completely unlike the usual tough
guy PI or life among the upper middle classes stories that are the usual fare for stories
set back then. Recommended.
April 15, 2006|
Historical Mystery [1941 Hawaii and the Pacific]|
NOTE: Minor Holiday read [It's set late in 1941 and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years
are mentioned, but not really central to the plot]|