Monday, July 7, 2014

Too Hot Four Hula

Author:  Jill Marie Landis
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

A marauding monkey, a mysterious murder, middle-aged hula maidens, and mugs full of Mai Tai's. Just another day in Tiki Goddess Paradise . . .

Crime-solving sleuth Em Johnson and her Uncle Louie, owner of the famous Tiki Goddess Bar on Kauai, head for the Cocktail Shake Off Competition in Honolulu. What is supposed to be a fun trip to a mixology contest turns weird when Louie's legendary "Booze Bible" is stolen, and Em's ex-husband winds up dead-with Em the number-one suspect. Sexy Kauai detective and part-time fire dancer Roland Sharpe rushes to Em's side along with the unpredictable Hula Maidens, whose detective skills are even more haphazard than their dance routine at the island tiki bars. Toss in an escaped monkey and a killer who wants to make this the last call for someone's honky-tonk, tiki-tossing night out, and it's going to be another wild escapade for Em and her Hula Maidens.


Em Johnson and her Uncle Louie are headed to Honolulu for the Annual Cocktail Shake Off Competition, Western Division.  The night before they leave, they are informed by Kiki and the rest of the "Hula Maidens" that they will be joining them.  Although Em isn't too happy about it, both her and her Uncle Louie are resigned to the fact that these catastrophe-finding women are going to join them.

When Em arrives, she tells Louie that her ex-husband Phillip called and wants to see her.  When their marriage ended badly (due to Phillip's over-spending and con artist ways), Em agrees, thinking that at least she will be able to gain closure.  However, when she meets Phillip, he isn't alone.  He has brought along his plastic Barbie doll girlfriend, Felicity Duncan, who is younger and obviously high-maintenance.  After an uncomfortable lunch, she tells Phillip goodbye and heads back to her hotel, realizing that the past is past and he is never going to change.

Shortly thereafter, Em and Louie discover his famous "Booze Bible" is missing, and purportedly stolen.  Em is sure the thief is someone attending the convention, and decides to 'go undercover' at the costume party to see if she can find the guilty party.  After she is nearly arrested for burglary (it's a long story), Roland, her almost-boyfriend-police-detective from Kauai appears on the scene and agrees to keep an eye on her in return for her being released on her own recognizance.  It turns out that Nat, another friend and neighbor on Kauai, had to leave for Los Angeles but called Roland realizing that Em needed help.  So when Phillip is discovered dead the next morning, Em is on the suspect short list.  So there are two mysteries to solve and the Hula Maidens are on it - without telling anyone, naturally.

I don't want to say more than that, because I would be giving too much away.  This book was truly hilarious.  You have the "Hula Maidens," six hula-dancing (or what they think passes for it) elderly ladies dancing whenever they hear Hawaiian music (including on the plane), and trying to avoid being arrested for the same; Little Estelle, the ninety-year-old mother of one of the women trying her best to 'get it on' with any available good-looking man and disappears for hours at a time; and a cocktail-taste-testing capuchin monkey that hates women and loves alcohol (this is really funny and has a significant part in the book).

At any rate, this is the fourth book in the series and a must-read even if you haven't read the first three.  That shouldn't stop you because it can be read as a stand-alone as need be; but I would recommend going back to read the others.  Highly recommended.

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