Archive for 'Glatzer, Hal'
Today’s featured author is Hal Glatzer. Hal is the author of the Katy Green mysteries. In the Swing Era, just before World War II, Katy Green is a working musician whose gigs turn into dangerous and murderous mysteries. The Katy Green mysteries are rather old-fashioned, which makes them essentially cozies. Most of the characters know one another, or move in the same circle (FYI, there’s a “cast-of-characters” page in each of the novels); there is very little violence or gruesome detail.
There are separate web sites for each of the books, so we have listed those below, as well as information on the audio performances available for the books, which are available from Audible.com. And you can read my reviews here.
See the web site at www.lastfullmeasure.info.
The audio production of “A Fugue in Hell’s Kitchen” is a “one-woman show”, with all the parts performed by Barbara Rosenblat. Barbara is a six-time Audie Award winner, who specializes in recording mysteries. And the music for this production is the Paganini string quartet whose missing manuscript is the object of Katy’s deadly search. “A Fugue in Hell’s Kitchen” was a finalist for an Audie Award in 2005.
See the web site at fugue-mystery.com.
The audio production of “Too Dead to Swing” is performed by a large cast of Broadway actors and Nashville musicians, so that when Katy’s band plays its gigs, you hear the songs, too. In 2001, the Audio Publishers Association bestowed its prestigious Audie Award for Achievement and Innovation in Production to “Too Dead to Swing.”
See the web site at toodeadtoswing.com.
In addition, Hal writes a series of very short audio-plays that he calls “minuscule mysteries.” They are the tonguetwistingly alliterative adventures of Mark Markheim, a Hollywood hawkshaw. Two of these twenty-minute plays have been performed and recorded by two Bay Area radio-theater troupes, and all four productions can be heard (as streaming audio) on his Audio-Playwrights web site: audio-play.com.
If you havenâ€™t signed up for the Summer Mystery Reading Challenge yet, click here for directions. You are welcome to read along on your own, of course, but only registered participants are eligible for the prizes. No matter what your mystery preference – cozy, noir, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, thriller, suspense – we have it on revewiedbyliz this Summer.
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THE LAST FULL MEASURE is a Katy Green mystery and is set in late November and early December, 1941. Katy has taken a job with two of her former Ultra Belles band mates and a Hawaiian singer. Together they have formed a dance band called the Swinginâ€™ Sarongs and are playing on the cruise ship Lurline from San Francisco to Hawaii and back through the holidays. But it turns out that Katyâ€™s fellow band members have more in mind than just a singing gig.
Their Hawaiian chanteuse, Roselani Akau, and her brother are both on a treasure hunt. Their parents had been in the inner circle of Hawaiiâ€™s last queen, Liliâ€™uokalani, and were responsible for concealing something of great value for her. The siblings have different ideas on what the treasure is, but both are determined to find it before the other. But there is a murder onboard the ship and the radio operator keeps intercepting unusual messages in Japanese as they near Hawaiiâ€¦
The Katy Green series gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a professional musician from the viewpoint of surprisingly tough and independent female band members in the early 40â€™s. In THE LAST FULL MEASURE, Glatzer also mixes in social commentary and politics in the run-up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. There are some very interesting historical bits about the American acquisition of Hawaii (where Glatzer has lived) and they are woven into the story very neatly. Glatzer packs a lot of material into a very good read, without making it seem ungainly.
While THE LAST FULL MEASURE is essentially a cozy and is set in an era in which many classic cozies were written, the characters and the lifestyles depicted are a little grittier and probably more realistic than those of traditional cozy characters. And this makes them very interesting. We tend to not think of women of this era being independent and having to scrape together every dime to make rent, using birth control regularly, or having access to drugs – and when they do it is sort of an eye-opener.
Favorite character? Danny Boy. Did I guess it? Yes. Will I read another? Absolutely!
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007
I love a book that gives you a map of the crime scene. First, it reminds me of the locked room mysteries I used to read as a child, and second, a map always helps orient you and gives you a leg up on picturing the events. In Too Dead to Swing, the author provides those of us who have never ridden in a Pullman train car with a car layout, so he endeared himself to me immediately.
The other thing I liked right off is the premise – the book is about an all female Swing band touring California by train in 1940. You just know you are going to get some interesting insights into a whole new world with that setup, and Glatzer doesn’t disappoint. He weaves in lots of information about the entertainment of that era and other period detail – I don’t think I am giving much away when I say that hatpins figure into the mystery.
The characters are also interesting. As a group, there are sort of rarities – women trying to make it in a mostly male profession and having to do it with lots of societal constraints imposed on them in this pre-war era. Heroine Katy Green is a plucky woman who is willing to take some bold steps to make ends meet in her chosen profession.
I am going to gloss over my criticism of this book, because there is a twist to it that I would reveal and ruin it for you. Just be sure to read the introduction before you read the book. I will instead say that this book is a good and interesting read and leave it at that.
My favorite character? Katy Green. Did I guess it? No. Will I read another? Yes.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007