Saturday, September 17, 2016
Book review - McDougal's Honolulu Mysteries
I was a bit confused reading McDougal's Honolulu Mysteries, an anthology, edited by Glen Grant. According to the notes, the stories are oral histories from Arthur McDougal, a detective in 1920's-1930's Honolulu. Hawai'i is U.S. territory, not a state. People still remember, and are bitter about the end of, the monarchy. The book is more detective noir fiction, rather than a whodunit. More answers by fist, instead of the little, gray cells.
At the end of each story, Grant inserts a note discussing the validity of the events in McDougal's adventures, which in very few of them, can he. Therefore, my question is: Was McDougal a real person? I can't tell and I can't find out, either. It took away from the enjoyment of the book (a little) because it read as McDougal is a fictional character.
Still, the book was a fun read. I most enjoyed the first and last stories, which had elements of the paranormal. And some were true whodunits.
The glimpse into Honolulu's past was one of the pluses of the book. The stories, not in chronological order, occur from just after WWI to 1934. Places, events, and events of the era give the stories an authentic feel.
McDougal's Honolulu Mysteries: Case Studies from the Life of a Honolulu Detective is a good read. It's more along the lines of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet than Agatha Christie.