Wednesday 19 February 2020

Book Review: Prospect for Murder by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson

Last Updated: 12 October 2021

Prospect for Murder by Jeanne Burrows-Johnson book cover

AD* | Retired travel writer Natalie Seachrist has had visions since childhood. But the sight of a girl's lifeless body draped over a vintage Mustang shatters her personal world when she learns her vision has been prescient. The horrible truth is that her twin's granddaughter Ariel is dead!

While the Honolulu Police Department conducts its customary investigation, Natalie decides to move into the Makiki apartment complex where her grandniece died. Aided by her friend Keoni Hewitt, a retired police detective, and her fleet-footed feline companion Miss Una, Natalie begins her very personal on-site sleuthing.

She soon discovers the fascinating Shànghai origins of apartment owners Pearl Wong and her sister Jade Bishop…and more than a little discord. Will Natalie be able to solve the riddle of Ariel's death before the police close their investigation without an arrest? Or has Natalie put herself in the way of a killer who's willing to murder again to hide their secret?

A story set in balmy Hawaii was just what I needed to escape from the wind and rain of the storms we've been experiencing here in England over the last few weeks! Prospect for Murder was certainly the perfect antidote to the grey, miserable British weather.

The story itself is reminiscent of a typical cosy murder mystery novel. The plot is not particularly complex or surprising, and the fact that the method and intentions of the murderer are never truly revealed feels like a bit of a cop-out. However, the journey to the end of the book is a pleasant one, as the author takes you on a slow, meandering stroll through Hawaiian history, local culture, and of course, investigating Ariel's mysterious death.

As the book is set in Hawaii, it also features a sprinkling of the Hawaiian language and local words used by characters in the story. From standing out on the lanai to slipping on a comfortable, brightly-coloured mu'umu'u, these little snippets of the local language and culture really brought the Hawaiian setting to life. I also feel that their inclusion is a real testament to the experiences and research that the author has poured into this book - Jeanne Burrows-Johnson has certainly done her homework for the book!

In addition to the Hawaiian language and phrasing, there is plenty of real-life local - and not so local - history and cultural events peppered throughout Prospect for Murder. From the Wong sisters' incredible journey to Hawaii to the ins and outs of island life through the decades, there is much to learn from a historical and cultural standpoint. The way that the author has expertly weaved fact with fiction is a firm nod to her skills as a writer, historian, and researcher.

It is the beautifully described setting and thorough research that set Prospect for Murder apart from other books of its genre. Evocative and detailed in its descriptions, this book is sure to leave me dreaming of the warm weather and relaxed lifestyle of Hawaii for many nights to come.

Rating: 3 stars

Prospect for Murder is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be grabbing yourself a copy? Let me know in the comments below! 

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