Daily Archives: July 16, 2015
Posted by authorcamilson
Title: Wings in the Dark
Author: Michael Murphy
Genre: Historical / Cozy Mystery
Witty and stylish in the classic Dashiell Hammett tradition: in Michael Murphy’s latest high-flying Jake & Laura Mystery, their Hawaiian honeymoon is interrupted when their friend Amelia Earhart is accused of murder.
Hawaii, 1935. Mystery novelist Jake Donovan and actress Laura Wilson are in gorgeous sun-soaked Hawaii, but their best laid plans for canoodling on the beach are interrupted by a summons from famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart. It seems a local businessman has been gunned down next to her plane. In just days, the famous pilot intends to fly from Honolulu to Los Angeles, making aviation history over the Pacific. But now, without Jake and Laura’s help, Earhart’s flight might never take off. Trailing a killer, the newlyweds’ sleuthing leads to a jealous pilot, a cigar-chomping female officer of the “Royalist Militia” and a notoriously disagreeable lieutenant colonel named Patton. With a sinister killer lurking in the shadows, it’s safe to say the honeymoon is over . . . and the danger has just begun.
Historical mystery writer Michael Murphy, author of the Jake and Laura mystery series
Penguin Random House: Penguin Random House
Barnes and Noble: B&N
Google play: Google Play
Books a Million: Books a Million
Laura reached Sato’s Bicycle Shop and hopped off. She slipped the bicycle into the rack and faced me with a broad grin as I pulled up and returned my bike.
Laura stood with both fists on her hips, reminding me of the lady pilot she played in her last film. “Glad you finally made it, darling.”
I swept her into my arms. I breathed in the fresh fragrance of her dark hair and kissed her.
Laura returned the kiss then playfully pushed me away as two parents and their kids walked by. She dropped to a bench beside the front door, fluffed her black curls and pointed toward the shack. “Second place pays.”
As a successful actress, Laura earned more dough than I did writing mysteries, but I wasn’t complaining. We weren’t hurting like most of the folks in the country. I tugged my wallet from my trouser pocket and went inside.
At the counter, Mikayla explained in surprising detail the features of a camera she was renting to a couple. I looked out the window. Laura glanced toward seagulls circling over the beach. She resembled any other tourist, except for her eye-catching good looks.
In spite of her fame in recent years, she’d changed little. Oh, sure, a touch of makeup and she was glamorous. Laura was also smart, funny, and calm when facing adversity, a wonderful complement to my tendency toward losing my temper.
Our careers provided financial independence during the world’s most devastating economic calamity, the Great Depression. With Japan’s conquest of Manchuria and Hitler and his henchmen building up Germany’s military, the future didn’t look so bright.
I’d tried to explain to the reporter, I couldn’t solve the world’s problems or help folks who’d had more than their share of bad breaks. I accepted our good fortune and the life we led together. For the next few days, I was determined to spend time with Laura, enjoying our honeymoon. In spite of the troubled times we lived in, for Laura and me, everything was perfect.
The couple nodded to me as they left.
“Mr. Donovan.” Mikayla smiled and set the expensive-looking camera beneath the counter. “How was your ride?”
“Wonderful. Nice camera.” I slid a sawbuck across the counter.
“A hobby. Hawaii has so many wonderful sights to photograph.”
“We enjoyed the pineapple plantation and the forest. Thanks for the suggestion.”
“Kalua Plantation is the largest on the Islands.” Mikayla reached beneath the counter. With more than a hint of grease on her hands, she pulled out a book, one of mine, Blackie Doyle Returns. “Excellent mystery, Mr. Donovan. So many suspects. Any one of them could’ve killed the beautiful redheaded dame. Can you tell by looking at someone they might be willing to take another life? Blackie Doyle seems to do that.”
I chuckled. “I’m no Blackie Doyle.”
She held out the book. “Would you sign your novel for me?”
“It’d be an honor.” A request to autograph one of my novels always flattered me. Though far more people asked for Laura’s autograph than mine, I didn’t let it bother me. If Laura and I had never met, I’d ask for her autograph too.
I signed on the title page, adding a personal touch by thanking her for the excellent bikes we rented. I handed the book back.
When she set the book on the counter behind her, I glimpsed a narrow bed, no bigger than a cot, through the open door. I didn’t realize she lived in the shop. Above the bed hung a framed picture of an Oriental building of some kind. Japanese? Chinese? Hawaiian? I thought I’d seen the place before, but I drew a blank.
Mikayla caught me looking and closed the door. As they say, once a private detective, always a private detective.
Understandably, the woman was reserved and kept her personal life to herself.
“I didn’t realize you lived here.”
“I could rent a place with more comfort, but I have a wonderful view and the lapping of the gentle waves helps me sleep.”
I gave her a slight bow. “Thanks again.”
Mikayla returned the bow. “Wait, Mr. Donovan. Most tourists with enough money to vacation in Hawaii are not as . . . as pleasant as you and your wife.” She nodded toward the front window where a soft breeze stirred Laura’s hair as she gazed toward Tony and a group of surfers riding the waves. Him again.
“A woman so beautiful, you should take dancing. Plenty of nightclubs in Honolulu.” She pointed out the window on the other side of the shop where a five-year-old Oldsmobile sat beside a gray pickup. “I also rent automobiles. Ten dollars.”
The car looked like it had seen plenty of miles, but if Mikayla maintained the vehicle as well as her bicycles, the Olds would serve our needs. “Any particular club you’d recommend?”
She shrugged. “Tourists say good things about the Mambo Club. It’s down the road from the hotel. You could walk if you prefer.”
I’d had enough exercise for the day. A drive would be a relaxing change. I’d come to value Mikayla’s recommendations more than those of the hotel’s staff. “Have you been there?”
She laughed. “I possess many skills, Mr. Donovan. Dancing isn’t one of them. And besides”—she held up her nails—“who’d ask me to dance?”
“I would, for one.”
She dismissed me with a laugh.
“I think I’ll take you up on your suggestion and rent the Oldsmobile.”
“After I clean it up a bit, I’ll leave the car parked in front of your hotel.”
“Thank you.” Excited by the prospect of surprising Laura and taking her to a place where she could dress up, I went outside and took her hand. The sun began to set as we strolled down the beach toward our cabana.
Laura moved closer to me, her hip bumping mine, suggesting another night of romance ahead.
As we reached a beachfront bar lit with flickering torches, Laura offered to buy me a drink.
I was still getting used to the availability of booze everywhere, including beaches. “Sure.”
“Let me order something tropical.”
“You mean fruity, without whiskey?”
Laura smiled. “When in Rome . . .”
A minute later, she handed me a red, sweet-smelling concoction in a coconut cup. I took a sip. Though the drink lacked any sense of booze, it was sweet and delightfully Hawaiian. As we made our way toward our cabana, a high-pitched shriek shattered the calm of the beach.
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