In case you don't know this from my past reviews, I am a huge fan of Michael Murphy's Jake and Laura Mystery series! I had a feeling the third one was going to be good when it's prequel indicated that Jake and Laura would be taking a trip to Hawaii and meeting up with Amelia Earhart. And it didn't disappoint!
In this third installment Jake and Laura are married and honeymooning in Hawaii. Their days are filled with leisurely bike rides and trips to the beach. While dining out one night in a fancy club they receive an emergency phone call from Laura's friend Amelia, asking them to please come to the hangar where her plane is stored awaiting her trans-Pacific flight in just a few days. When they arrive they find a local businessman, Hank Kalua, lying dead on the floor. He's been shot twice, and Amelia seems to be the lead suspect. Amelia and her husband, George Putnam, ask Jake to investigate. He initially refuses, but when George applies pressure through Jake's publisher, he reluctantly accepts. Jake and Laura, along with Putnam's private secretary, Billy, head out to try to find a murderer. The police make a quick arrest in the case, but Jake isn't convinced they've found the right person. When he visits a bar frequented by Royalists (Hawaiians who want to return the islands to a monarchy), he hears about a Japanese spy and assassin named Katsune, and he's even more sure there's more going on than meets the eye. He meets an old friend who introduces him to George Patton, who's been hot on Katsune's trail for several years. But with no physical description of the spy, and no positive evidence that he's even in Hawaii, Jake and Laura will have a hard time finding him before it's too late for Amelia.
To be honest, I thought the Katsune storyline was a bit predictable, but that didn't make the journey to finding him any less enjoyable, and there was a twist at the end that I really didn't see coming. I love Jake Donovan because he reminds me of my favorite old time radio detectives. I like that the cases always involve Laura, and that she helps him solve them. That aspect makes the series a little different than your average detective stories. My favorite part is how Mr. Murphy weaves these tales with true historical events and characters. This one of course gives a little peak into the life of Amelia Earhart, but also shows indications of the political unrest with Japan.
This is a great series. There's just something exciting about stories filled with gumshoes, dames and secret agents. After the final chapter of Wings in the Dark, I'm expecting Jake and Laura to tangle with J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI in future books. All I can say is, "Bring it on J. Edgar! You and your goons can't hold a candle to Jake Donovan and Laura Wilson!"
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. A favorable review was not required, and all opinions are my own. Look for Wings in the Dark at your favorite bookseller on or around July 15.