Sharon McCone, weary of San Francisco's persistent rainy weather, jumps at the chance to investigate sabotage on the set of a documentary film being shot on the island of Kauai. Based on the writings of Hawaiian scholar Elson Wellbright, the film has incited major controversy among some of Wellbright's family members who aren't anxious to see the project reach completion. Vandalism quickly escalates into big-time violence, and McCone discovers a world of family secrets, drug dealing, political insurgency, and murder in this new crime novel by one of the world's most beloved mystery writers.
In the 20th Sharon McCone mystery, the San Francisco-based PI leaves her usual haunts for Hawaii. McCone's downstairs office neighbor, Glenna Stanleigh, is a documentary filmmaker with a project on the island of Kauai. Glenna and her partner, Peter Wellbright, are making a film about Hawaiian legends and myths, based on the writings of Peter's father, Elson Wellbright, a descendant of early missionaries to the islands. There have been a series of accidents on the film set, and Glenna suspects that someone is trying to kill her or a member of her crew. Can McCone help? McCone is not licensed to operate in Hawaii, so she takes along her lover, Hy Ripinsky, and finds a way to work with the local branch of his security company, RKI. As she delves into the curious circumstances on the set, McCone keeps running into trouble with the large, influential and badly dysfunctional Wellbright family. Two family members--Elson himself and his youngest son--have gone missing for some years, and nobody seems to care much. As her inquiries lead her inevitably into learning more about the local folklore and history, McCone falls under the spell of the islands. She also fights an attraction to Russ Tanner, a local helicopter pilot and distant relative of the Wellbrights. Along with a taut, expertly plotted story, Muller conveys the magical appeal of Kauai, as well as the long-simmering resentment of some of the islanders toward white settlers. The Hawaiian setting, so well employed by Muller, reinvigorates a veteran, if a consistently entertaining and imaginative, PI series.