"A spiffy mystery"
In 1891 at San Francisco's posh Palace Hotel, Hawaiian
King Kalakau lies dying in a suite. Apparently, much of
the island elite, hanger-ons, and creditors have arrived
not so much out of respect, but to gain an edge after His
Highness dies. Most of the entourage and several local
Americans like the Examiner's Ambrose Bierce debate whether
the Unites States should annex Hawaii.
However, the beloved Princess Leileiha has vanished,
leaving the royal party in disarray. Sugar king Silas
Underwood asks Bierce to find the missing Princess.
Chronicle reporter Tom Redmond assists Bierce on his
investigation. However, there are several individuals who
would prefer Leileiha to not reappear including Redmond's
Amazonian half-Hawaiian girl friend Hounani Brown. Plus
several other cases slow down the inquiries and the half-
Hawaiian girl Redmond has begun to romance is also affected.
The sequel to the highly regarded AMBROSE BIERCE AND
THE QUEEN OF SPADES is an engaging historical mystery that
is the Americanization of Holmes and Watson. The story
line provides insight into the political and social climate
of Hawaii and San Francisco during the early part of the
Gay Nineties before the American annexation. The prime
story line is exciting, but subplots involving unrelated
scenarios to the missing princess theme slow down the novel
even as it provides greater understanding of the era.
Oakley Hall has written a pleasant tale that will satisfy
sub-genre fans, especially those that prefer the historical
setting to the mystery setting.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted September 5, 2001