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The Last Full Measure: A Katy Green Mystery [Paperback]

Hal Glatzer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Perseverance Press (15 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880284847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880284841
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,613,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Full to overflowing, even -- 10 May 2007
Format:Paperback
As are all of Hal Glatzer's books, this one is exceptionally well written, drawing the reader in to the story immediately, and keeping him/her there. The only real problem with having read this book is in knowing that it will be a year or so (or close to it!) before the next Katy Green story appears. That's sad.

This book, however, is not quite a Katy Green story in the manner of the first two, which had at least as much music as mystery in them. This one is rather undecided about what it wants to be: there is some music, and a little mystery--well actually, more suspense than mystery, I think, and a lot of history. Since I love history as much as I love music and mystery, I found this to be an engrossing story.

Having never met anyone from Hawaii until last year, I'd never given much thought to the history of the islands other than the basics than most people know. I was little more than a toddler when WWII broke out, and it was the European conflict that most affected my life, rather than that in the Pacific.

Of course, I think everyone dreams of an ocean cruise, especially on one of the vintage liners. Reading this book was almost as good as the actual thing, I think, which is probably not possible any more, anyway.

All in all, even though there was not as much music as I might have liked, I didn't feel at all gypped by this book. There are so many other elements that make up for that lack, I have no hesitation at all in recommending it. It succeeds on every level--satisfying reading, excellent characterizations, splendid historical data presented in a readable fashion, and enough suspense/mystery to keep any reader happy.

There is a brief allusion to an older Katy mystery tale. Dare we hope--?
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full to overflowing, even -- 5 Jan 2007
By kellytwo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As are all of Hal Glatzer's books, this one is exceptionally well written, drawing the reader in to the story immediately, and keeping him/her there. The only real problem with having read this book is in knowing that it will be a year or so (or close to it!) before the next Katy Green story appears. That's sad.

This book, however, is not quite a Katy Green story in the manner of the first two, which had at least as much music as mystery in them. This one is rather undecided about what it wants to be: there is some music, and a little mystery--well actually, more suspense than mystery, I think, and a lot of history. Since I love history as much as I love music and mystery, I found this to be an engrossing story.

Having never met anyone from Hawaii until last year, I'd never given much thought to the history of the islands other than the basics than most people know. I was little more than a toddler when WWII broke out, and it was the European conflict that most affected my life, rather than that in the Pacific.

Of course, I think everyone dreams of an ocean cruise, especially on one of the vintage liners. Reading this book was almost as good as the actual thing, I think, which is probably not possible any more, anyway.

All in all, even though there was not as much music as I might have liked, I didn't feel at all gypped by this book. There are so many other elements that make up for that lack, I have no hesitation at all in recommending it. It succeeds on every level--satisfying reading, excellent characterizations, splendid historical data presented in a readable fashion, and enough suspense/mystery to keep any reader happy.

There is a brief allusion to an older Katy mystery tale. Dare we hope--?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars San Francisco/Hawaii - 1941 15 July 2009
By Lyn Reese - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is number three in the series about Katy Green, a clever violin and saxophone musician who takes on the dangerous events that confront her in every book. Here she rejoins an all girl swing band who have landed a promising gig performing on the Matson Steamship Company's flagship, the SS Lurline, traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii, and back. In this era, female bands were much sought after as male performers increasingly were drafted into the armed services. Katy's group, all unmarried and needing to find work, are a post Depression free spirited, even racy bunch determined to live life to the fullest.

On board the ship, there is mounting realization that the U.S. is on the verge of war, not only with Germany but possibly with Japan. The racism of some of the passengers against their Japanese-Hawaiian shipmates emerges as does the pro-Japan viewpoint of one of the characters. The fears of the full blooded Hawaiians about the possible Japanese destruction of their endangered heritage offer yet another perspective.

The story ends with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The ship will now become a war transport vehicle. And the girls' careers, like those of many women, must change as well.

The story's historical details are vast. Discussed are the streets of San Francisco, popular music and how it was played, the layout and daily passenger life of the SS Lurline, and events in Hawaiian history, including the 1890s when Queen Lili'uokalani attempted to retain power and the haole annexationists succeeded in taking it away. The fullness of these accounts compensates for some literary weaknesses: the crime doesn't appear until half way through the book, the ending is improbable, and the author's confusing claim in the Forward of using the work of a "ghost writer" named Hannah Dobryn is denied in his Afterword when he says that in fact he created her!

Information about the actual events, characters and the sources is provided in a lengthy Afterward. Glatzer's clever and fun website has period photos, postcards, advertisements, and more information on women's work.
3.0 out of 5 stars dry history overwhelms mystery 3 Jan 2013
By Miss Ivonne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
In "The Last Full Measure," musician Katy Green joins yet another all-girl ensemble, a quartet called the Swingin' Sarongs. And what's not for Katy to like? The gig pays the princely salary of $137.50 per week and takes place on board a cruise liner, the S.S. Lurline, which sails between San Francisco and exotic Hawaii, then still a U.S. territory. As this novel begins in December 1941, Katy's looking forward to sunshine in the middle of winter and the chance to swim at Waikīkī and to meet some handsome, rich men. The reader knows full well what's coming up, of course: murder and the attack on the Pacific Fleet.

At the novel's start, Katy's approached by two girls who were part of the Ultra Belles, the all-girl swing band from "Too Dead to Swing," the debut book in this series: bass player and now band leader Ivy Powell and trumpet player Lillian Vernakis. Despite constant talk of impending war, saxophonist and violinist Katy decides to join in the fun. Rounding out the quartet is Roselani Akau, a prickly singer, pianist and steel guitarist and a Native Hawaiian. It's Roselani's brother, the mysterious and philandering Bill Apapane, who ushers in the mystery -- and a murder.

Full marks to author Hal Glatzer for meticulously using preferred Hawaiian orthography (e.g., Hawai'i, Queen Lili'uokalani, ō'ō, ali'i, ki'i) and for providing a window into America on the cusp of entering World War II. From the postcards that decorate the start of every chapter to the vintage slang, Glatzer provides such authenticity to the third entry in the Katy Green mystery series. But what provides such great color to the novel also proves part of its downfall.

Glatzer has to spend so much time bringing his readers up to speed on Hawaiian and American history that the history lessons get in the way of what would otherwise be a taut and suspenseful piece. Bits that an intelligent person would have known in 1941 -- the shameful coup d'tat against Hawaiian Queen Lili'uokalani, the rapacious hold that the sugar and pineapple barons had on the workers (whether white, Japanese or Native Hawaiian), the rampant racism against the Japanese even before the Pearl Harbor bombing -- have to be interwoven into the narrative; however, Glatzer chooses to clumsily introduce these facts through long-winded lectures by Roselani, who's made to look like a prig in consequence. At one point, the impatient Ivy interrupts one of these disquisitions: "We've missed breakfast now. And we've got a little over six hours before our gig. D'you think you'll be finished by lunchtime?"

The frustrated reader will find herself nodding in agreement. Hal Glatzer just doesn't have the chops of, say, a Laurie R. King, a Sharan Newman, or a Tony Hillerman, who manage to seamlessly convey considerably more and more arcane details in their mystery series without interrupting the flow of their novels' plots with expository lectures. In their able hands, history, no matter how obscure, comes alive and adds to the enjoyment.

The mystery's not a bad one -- a hunt for a possibly mythical treasure buried in a remote part of the Big Island and the resulting murders by someone who apparently wants to clear the field of anyone but him- or herself. Or are the murders actually unrelated to the treasure allegedly buried 40 years earlier? But the reader can barely withstand all of the exposition needed to get to the payoff. The reader will guess who the murderer is before Katy does, although not by much. And the very, very suspenseful denouement will have you at the edge of your seat! Indeed, that action-packed ending manages to elevate "The Last Full Measure" from two stars to three.

Longtime fans of Katy Green will still enjoy "The Last Full Measure," despite its flaws; however, other mystery fans would be better served by reading the much better Too Dead To Swing and A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen: A Katy Green Mystery, the first two books in the Katy Green mystery series.
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