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Collins' books about Nathan Heller are great fun, mixing history and mystery into a jaunty stew. The latest finds Heller on his way to Hawaii to help lawyer Clarence Darrow on his last case -- defending a bizarre bunch of murderers in the notorious Massie affair. Using the actual facts of the case (a young Navy wife with social connections claimed she was kidnapped and raped by five young men in Honolulu in 1932; when the men were acquitted, her husband and her mother kidnapped one of the accused and killed him while trying to extract a confession), Collins recreates with considerable skill the natural beauty of the setting and the racial tensions of the time. Darrow comes to sad, vivid life as an aging lion at the end of his career, while other real characters like swimmer Buster Crabbe and the Chinese detective who was the model for Charlie Chan mix with Heller and other lively inventions. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Seven of the eight volumes in this series, which blends classic American crime with the fictional efforts of detective Nate Heller, have been nominated for Shamus awards (two have won). This tale warrants another. Collins gives us pre-statehood Hawaii and the Massie case, which revolved around the alleged abduction and rape of a Navy lieutenant's wife and the subsequent murder of a suspect by lieutenant Thomas Massie and his mother-in-law. The sensational crime stirred racial hatreds in Hawaii and stoked a movement to place the territory under military rather than civilian rule. It's 1932, and Heller, wrapping up his involvement in the Lindbergh kidnapping case (Stolen Away), lunches with Clarence Darrow. Darrow has been lured out of semi-retirement to defend Massie, his mother-in-law Grace Fortescue and two seamen against charges of murdering one of the five mixed-race youths accused of raping Thalia Massie. As Darrow's investigator, Heller cuts through the incompetence, corruption and confusion that surrounded both the original crime and the subsequent murder of the suspect. Collins's vivid sketch of a deeply divided polyglot culture is spiced with colorful real-life characters in Darrow, Buster Crabbe and Chang Apana, the Hawaiian policeman who served as a model for Charlie Chan.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.