Title: UKULELE MURDER
Author: Leslie Langtry
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing
Nani Johnson thought she had it made when she moved from Kansas to the resort town of Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. In spite of her certifiably crazy mom, Nani is determined that nothing will stop her from becoming a ukulele virtuoso! Unfortunately her Julliard training doesn’t help her break into the local music scene due to some heavy competition from the Terrible Trio—three hostile, local musicians. The only work she finds is a few bar mitzvahs and gigs at the kitschy Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel.
But when one of Nani’s competitors drops dead right after a public feud, Nani becomes the police’s main suspect. A missing murder weapon, mysterious threats, and a heck of a frame-up job all have Nani worrying she’ll be trading in her flowery muumuus for prison orange. Enter hunky local botanist Nick Woodfield, who just might be able to help her clear her name…that is if he doesn’t have secrets of his own. With the bodies stacking up, the danger closing in, and the authorities circling, Nani must track down a killer…before she ends up the latest victim of the Ukulele Murderer!
If anyone requests “Ukulele Lady,” I’m out of here. I’m not going to do it. Not again. Not for the millionth time. Is that the only song tourists know? Yeesh. Please, tiki god of the Ukulele, don’t let me kill a tourist today.
“‘Ukulele Lady!'” a dumpy, middle-aged man in a Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirt screams. He gives me a knowing nod with his balding head to indicate he’s the only one in the room who knows true Hawaiian culture.
I hate him. I imagine bludgeoning him with my koa wood uke.
But I don’t. Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of koa wood? Well…I don’t know either, but I’d guess it isn’t easy.
Instead, I play the damn song—smiling as I imagine shoving his pineapple drink up his…
The crowd cheers as I perform. I know—it’s not so bad having an adoring audience. But this isn’t the audience I want. This is Judah Horowitz’s bar mitzvah. One of the few gigs I could get in Aloha Lagoon.
My name is Hoalohanani Johnson. My mother, Harriet Jones Johnson, is a bit of a Hawaiian-obsessed nut. It’s so bad that it’s to the point where she believes she is the reincarnation of a Hawaiian princess and says that my name came from a dream from an ancestor god. In reality, it probably came from the bottom of a rum bottle.
To her endless annoyance, my redheaded, green-eyed mom comes from a long line of English ancestors and grew up in Kansas. Dad was a third-generation blond, brown-eyed German whose name was shortened to Johnson due to the inability to pronounce whatever the name really was. Neither of my parents had ever been to Hawaii until Mom and I moved here after Dad died.
I go by Nani. And I now live in Aloha Lagoon on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, with my mother, who now calls herself Haliaka and dyes her hair and eyebrows a ridiculous shade of black that does not look natural. I’ve never understood where my dark-brown hair comes from, but I look more native than she does. Always dressed in a muumuu, Mom wears hibiscus flowers in her hair and hangs out on my lanai, singing island songs all day and night, much to my neighbors’ dismay. Sigh.
I finish my set, tell the crowd “aloha,” and am cut off by the DJ who decides suddenly to play a gangsta rap song.
“Thank you!” Gladys Horowitz of Trenton, New Jersey, and Judah’s mother, slips an envelope into my hands before running to the dance floor to shimmy disturbingly. Thirteen-year-old Judah hangs his head in shame.
I make my way through the crowd to the bar and order a decidedly un-Hawaiian vodka tonic.
“Here’s the ten bucks I owe you.” The bartender smiles, handing me money.
I gulp my drink, slapping an empty glass on the bar. “I told you, someone requests it every time.” I take his money and head to my car. My shift in hell is over.
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Leslie Langtry is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Bombay Greatest Hits Series, Merry Wrath Mysteries & the Ukulele Mysteries. She lives in the Midwest with her family and an alarming menagerie of pets. She loves cake.
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