Murder at Volcano House: A Surfing Detective Mystery
by Chip Hughes
Where to buy: Amazon
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.