Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Local Literary Scene

Isle Pages

New releases from
Hawaii authors

"Poisoned Palms -- The Murder of Mrs. Jane Lathrop Stanford"
by Dorothea Buck- ingham
(Island Heritage, $6.99)

IH's foray into the mass-market disposable paperback arena is well-served by this sophmore novel by Kailua writer Buckingham, who turns a notorious, century-old case of high-society murder into an elegant Agatha Christie-like page turner. The case was a wowser in its day -- Stanford, the "mother of Stanford University," died abruptly in her Waikiki hotel room. Was she murdered? The case was never solved, despite no lack of both suspicions and suspects.

"After the Ball"
by David P. Penhallow
(Rice Street Press, $24.95)

This is the first volume of Penhallow's novelized semi-autobiography (a genre more common than you think) and it's big, sloppy, precious and quite funny and moving. Needs a more sophisticated cover!

"I'm Third -- An American Boy of Depression Years"
by Robert A. Nordyke, M.D.
($25, distributed by University of Hawaii Press)

Some books ought to be subtitled "labor of love." This posthumous collection of recollections and snapshots by the noted Honolulu physician is gentlemanly, revealing and humorous, plus it gets a magnificient packaging by Honolulu book designer Barbara Pope.

"Hawai'i's Story By Hawai'i's Queen"
by Queen Lili'uokalani
(Mutual Publishing, $13.95)

Some stories just never grow old. This impassioned brief, written by the deposed queen in 1898, has become a classic of both Hawaiian literature and political mythologizing. This latest edition of the book, now in public domain (http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/liliuokalani/hawaii/hawaii.html), features a cogent introduction by the late Glen Grant and a slightly higher price.

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