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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.

The Book

Perseverance Press
April 15, 2006
Trade Paperback
Historical Mystery [1941 Hawaii and the Pacific]
More at
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]

The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2006
© 2006