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Fiction Books Set in Hawaii – Murder at Volcano House

http://amzn.to/2xfnTrU

Murder at Volcano House: A Surfing Detective Mystery
by Chip Hughes

Where to buy: Amazon
Price: $14.95

This is only the second book I have reviewed, on this blog, and it’s by the same author…Chip Hughes. The other book, in the surfing detective series, is “Kula”. This book “Murder at Volcano House” takes private investigator Kai Cook to the Big Island, specifically to Volcanoes National Park.

As a favor to attorney friend Tommy Woo (a man of many lawyer jokes), Kai agrees to protect the former CEO of a Geothermal company returning to the Big Island to attend the funeral of a former employee. Decades ago, Rex Ransom drilled in the Sacred lands of volcano god Pele causing much controversy and protest.

Ransom’s wife, Donnie, believes that her husband is a target since two former employees have died mysteriously at the hands of Pele…or did they? Kai believes the threat comes from a human source but is shocked when he sees a young woman in a red dress (a common Pele guise) shortly before Ransom is found dead at the bottom of a steam vent.

Who dunnit? Pele herself? There are plenty of human suspects…Ransom’s ex-wife, Ransom’s bitter former partner, a protester who attacked Ransom in the past, an escaped mental patient who fancies herself as Pele’s younger sister Hi’iaka.

Follow Kai as he travels from Oahu to Hawaii Island to Kauai. There’s also a side case he is working on involving a fatal crash on the Pali Highway. Kai also tries to help a girl, at the lei shop below his office, who is being terrorized by an ex-boyfriend.

Even with all the action, the surfing detective needs to catch some waves. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never been to the islands or have lived in Hawaii all your life, Chip Huges does a masterful job of expressing the island vibe whether it’s China Town, Volcanoes National Park (visited myself this year!) or Hanalei.

About the Author
Chip Hughes began surfing, in San Diego, during the late 60’s. In 1981, he earned a Ph.D., in English, from the University of Indiana. Hughes taught at the University of Hawaii for nearly 30 years before becoming a full time writer.

The surfing detective mystery series began in 2004 with “Murder in Moloka’i” (I read it!) followed by “Wipeout!” in 2007 (I read it!). “Murder at Volcano House” is the fourth book in the series of six planned volumes.

Spouting Horn – A Natural Wonder of Kauai

On the Koloa district on the southern coast of Kauai, you will find the Spouting Horn…a majestic blowhole and one of the best photo ops on the island. I live on Oahu, have been to the Halona Blowhole many times and have never seen anything except crashing surf! The Spouting Horn put on quite a show shooting water 50 feet, into the air, again & again & again…

The view deck is kind of small and it can get crowded so some patience may be needed as you wait your turn. Bestest thing: free parking and restrooms! There is also a covered flea market, with local vendors, selling everything from Hawaiian type gifts to fine jewelry. I’ve been told (don’t quote me) that you can find the best prices, for genuine freshwater pearls, here!

Across the road is the McBryde Garden & Allerton Garden which is acturally two botanical gardens Allerton – 80 acres and McBryde – 50 acres. They received good reviews from Yelp and Trip Advisor but we skipped them since it was raining.

Back to the Spouting Horn. I came across a wonderful story about the origin of the Spouting Horn as told by the late Uncle Louis Almodova Jr. (Da Mayor of Salt Pond):

The Legend of the Spouting Horn is about a lizard family, consisting of a brother and two sisters. The three left their homeland for a swim. After they swam a long way they spotted two islands. The closer one was named Niihau and the farther one was named Kauai. The brother could see that, although far away, Kauai was beautiful and lush. He wanted to go and visit Kauai, but the sisters were too tired and wanted to rest. So they decided to stay where they were on the beach on the island of Niihau and let their little brother explore.

The brother headed off toward the island of Kauai. He swam and swam. As he got near Kauai he could see beautiful green mountains in the distance. After a while he got tired and decided to land as soon as he could. He came to rest at the old Koloa Landing and waited there for his sisters. He waited a long time, but they never arrived.

He was lonely and being that they didnt come, he swam back to Niihau and went looking for them. When he landed on Niihau he searched and searched. All he found were two large rocks, boulders really, near where he had left them on the beach. At last he realized that the two large rocks were all that was left of his sisters.

Sadly he swam back to Kauai. He cried and he cried, and when he got near Koloa Landing he was caught by a big wave that pushed him along the shore. He missed Koloa Landing and passed Kukuiola Bay and then was shoved by the wave under a lava tube just short of Lawaii Kai. He has been trapped there since. Whenever the waves come back you can hear him moan and see his breath bursting from the lava tube at Spouting Horn.

Don’t believe? See the video below:

Waianae I Ka Po or Waianae at Night

Leaving Ku’ilioloa Heiau and back to the bus.

My wife and I joined Lopaka Kapanui, of Mysteries of Hawaii, on a “three hour tour.” Lopaka offers the “Waianae I Ka Po” tour only a couple of times a year so we were thrilled. Lopaka has great insight to the local legends and supernatural happenings, since he grew up in Maili (near Kaukama Road).

There were only three stops on the tour but Lopaka, a great native story teller, kept everyone entertained and a little nervous during the bus ride. He literally met his wife in a graveyard. No, they weren’t just randomly strolling, she was on one of Lopaka’s tours!

Ku’ilioloa Heiau

According to legend, Ku’ilioloa (the long dog form of Ku) was constructed by a priest from Ra’iatea (Society Islands) who arrived between the 11th and 12th century. One of the major functions of Ku’ilioloa was for navigation but…

Lopaka said there was a different use for the heiau. It was also used for sacrifice. When a Hawaiian baby was born, if there were any defects or flaws detected, the newborn would be sacrificed at Ku’ilioloa.

A few lucky volunteers stood in front of the heiau while the rest of us took pictures of them…nope, no ghosts, orbs or strange lights seen in our photos.

Kaena Point Night Marchers

My 30 seconds of fame!

We pulled into the parking lot at Kaena Point (this is as far as you can drive on the Leeward side of Oahu). We walked towards the mountain and stopped at the tall grass. If you look up, you can see the Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station. Here is where the night marchers emerge after winding down the Waianae mountain range.

Lopaka said if you see the lights, from the torches, and hear the drums, run like hell! If you are in their path, it is best to shed your clothes and lay face down until the night marchers pass. He said no worries since they only march during the last four Hawaiian moon phases.

Again, everyone took photos and I was one of the lucky (or not) volunteer models but there was nothing supernatural in anyone’s pictures.

Kaneana (Makua) Cave

Lopaka, in story telling mode, in Kaneana Cave.

According to Hawaiian legend, Kaneana Cave is the home of a shape-shifting shark god by the name of Nananue (Son of Kamohoali‘i, a brother of Madame Pele). Nanaue, disguised as an old man, would trick travelers into dining with him in the cave,  turn back into a shark and eat them. Back to the present!

There’s nothing like hearing chicken skin stories, in a cave that is TOTALLY dark. Lopaka told many stories but the one that stood out was about a teenager from Pearl City. She ran away from home and was partying with a friend near Kaneana Cave.

Somehow the teen, from Pearl City, and her friend were separated and a group of young men began harassing her. She ran away, from them, and hid in the cave. Unfortunately, the men were locals and soon found her. They raped and killed her. Her spirit still remains in Kaneana Cave. She had beautiful long hair and loved combing it. As soon as we entered the cave, Lopaka told us, “If someone asks you for a comb, do NOT go be them one!” Her spirit may follow you home.

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