Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

Hawaii 1920s - United States

©1996-2013
womeninworldhistory.com

Peril Under the Palms

by K. K. Beck

The setting for this light hearted mystery evokes the Hawaii we’ve seen in the old tourist posters. The reader is transported back to an exotic place of vibrant gardens, vivid plumed birds, elegant hotels, and leis and the Royal Hawaiian Band greeting holiday travelers arriving by ship. But trouble lies beneath the tranquil surface as an old secret held by one of the island’s wealthiest sugar cane families, the Caulfields, bubbles to the surface when the youngest member, Antoinette, returns home. Sensing something mysterious is happening, Antoinette enlists the help of her Stanford college friend Iris Cooper, who is vacationing in Oahu. As Antoinette tells Iris, “you’re so good at mysteries. Everyone at school knows all about your adventures.”

Iris soon discovers that the Caulfield secrets have put a number of people in peril. One is Miss Blodgett, a middle age woman seeking information about her Great-Great- Uncle Josiah, a nineteenth century missionary whose diary reveals a man much disturbed by the “wicked ways” of the native Hawaiians. Another is the odd woman dressed in white who is trying to pass herself off as Antoinette’s long lost mother.

Joining Iris in her search for clues is the irreverent, and to Iris fascinating, journalist Jack Clancey. Jack, who has helped Iris solve previous murder cases, improbably shows up as a passenger on one of the first planes to fly to Oahu from the mainland. Together they form an unlikely but effective murder solving team.

This trouble in paradise mystery is light enough for a perfect read on a summer beach. It is one of five amateur sleuth stories featuring Iris Cooper.

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