On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Two to Mango (The Tiki Goddess Mystery Series)
2nd in Series
Setting – Hawaii
Bell Bridge Books (June 20, 2012)
Hardcover: 218 pages
Paperback: 218 pages
Kindle ASIN: B007RQV6NK
Forget the grass skirts. Some of the Island’s top hula dancers are pushing up daisies.
Everyone at Em Johnson’s famous North Shore Kauai hang-out, The Tiki Goddess Bar, knows that the bar’s irrepressible Hula Maidens take their hula dancing seriously. So when famed hula instructors from a rival dance troop start dropping like over-ripe passion fruit, Em and the Hula Maidens go undercover at the Kukui Nut Festival Hula Competition to uncover the killer. Em is once again up to her okole in danger and mystery, not to mention the seductive challenge of working with hunky detective Roland Sharpe, who moonlights as one of the island’s sexiest fire dancers.
The hula is lively, the luau is smoking, the mai tais are delicious, and a killer is looking to get away with murder in paradise.
The Hula Maidens are back and are as hilarious as ever. The senior ladies take their hula dancing very seriously and are afraid that after their latest incident at an old folks home their dancing days may be over. They get a reprieve when Em Johnson’s detective Roland asks for Em’s help. Heads of another local dance group have died suddenly. Roland doesn’t have any proof but he thinks their deaths were not from natural causes. He asks Em to convince the Hula Maidens to enter the Kukui Nut Festival Hula Competition so that she can go undercover and keep her eyes and ears open. He will be there too in his dual roles of law enforcement and fire dancer. Em just can’t say no.
First, I appreciated the author’s refresher on the Hawaiian language and the meaning of the Hawaiian words when they first appear as a comfortable part of the narrative.
Next, Ms. Landis has created the epitome of quirky characters that are what every great cozy mystery series needs. The Hula Maidens are a group of “not-so-talented-over-the-hill dancers”. They have recently lost one member to another group and gained a dancer who hails from Iowa. They dance at events and places for free but their “gigs” are rare because people expect “lovely young Polynesian dancers, not a bunch of wrinkled old haoles (not Native Hawaiian) with underarm bat wings.” In the first book in this series, they convinced Em Johnson to come to Kauai to save her uncle’s Tiki Goddess Bar that was going under mostly because her uncle loans anyone money and never gets repaid. The bar also has a taste testing parrot named David Letterman. Uncle Louie likes to come up with new exotic drink recipes that aren’t revealed to the public without the bird’s okay. And then there is bartender Sophie, who tries to help the maidens with their choreography and hunky fire dancer detective Roland Sharpe. Roland does have feelings for Em and she has feelings for him but they are taking things S . . . L . . . O . . . W.
The author wraps these characters in a puzzling mystery. Who is killing the Kumu? and How? and Why? It is not easily apparent but Em has her suspects. What ensues is a wacky, wild and at times laugh out loud funny journey to find the truth.
I read the first book in this series because I needed to read a book set in Hawaii for a reading challenge. I came back for this one because there are very few authors that can make me laugh so much from the beginning to the end of a story. The bonus is the mystery is fun to follow and solve too.
If you like cozies with a generous dose of humor and larger than life characters, grab this book, flip to the back for Uncle Louie’s Booze Bible, mix yourself a drink or two, and sit back and enjoy Jill Marie Landis’ Two to Mango!
Find out more about Jill Marie Landis on her webpage here.
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*This book was from my private collection. The opinions I have expressed are my own.