A Legacy of Bones
by Doug Burgess
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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date Not set
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark
Some legacies are best abandoned...
A well-placed stick of TNT ignites a full-blown investigation in A Legacy of Bones, a provocative murder mystery exploring the racial and cultural divide on a remote Hawaiian island between landed elite and villagers.
On Kaumaha Island (est 1850), the statue of Amyas Lathrop conceals a terrible secret—a legacy of massacres and madness that infects the island itself. Some will go to any lengths to keep it hidden, others to set it free. But which of them would kill?
Cultural expert Winnie Te Papa, our very own Ms. Marple, will sift through the pieces to track a ruthless murderer through a tangled maze of family alliances, greedy developers, scholars, protestors, and gangsters.
Told in dual timeline, Doug Burgess’s intricate puzzle box mystery traces the consequences of an island’s frenetic beginnings as they snowball through generations. Fans of HBO’s White Lotus will be intrigued by the ever hotly debated questions: what happens next and who get to decide?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
This is a fantastic murder mystery and a spooky ghost tale with important cultural links!
I’ve heard of the Menehune before, but this was my first introduction to the Legend of the Night Marchers.
Author Doug Burgess explores the racial and cultural divide in Hawaii through the issues between the villagers on fictitious Misery Island and the haole elite, the Lathrop family. The villagers consisted of the natives, as well as the Japanese/Filipino immigrants, all of who were plantation workers, and the Lathrops who were the white plantation owners. Readers don’t get too far into the conflict before noticing some parallels in recent Hawaiian history concerning the sugarcane operations. The heart of the issue for both is the land-ownership divide. Burgess points us towards the Māhele and the toppling of the Hawaiian monarchy. He does it in such a way that readers can’t help but see parallels in similar situations on their own turf. If you didn’t know beforehand, you’ll come away with a better understanding of why the idea of owning the āina was such a difficult concept to grasp and also come away with a deeper appreciation for the Hawaiians and their attitude towards their land.
Some of the characters will remind you of Agatha Christie's novels. Mr. Po reminded me of the eccentric Hercule Poirot and Winnie Te Papa reminded me of Miss Marple. Regardless, the well-rounded characters are authentic and engaging. I enjoyed the references to the ‘walkers’ who patrol the Waipi’o Valley at night! The plot is well-paced with a great balance of intrigue and suspense and is obviously penned by an author who loves history.
This book would lend itself well to book clubs as it reminds us of the importance of building worker struggles across ethnic, racial and national divides while maintaining the true flavour of the islands.
This is a ‘meaty’ book and one read-through won’t do it justice! I’m packing it in my suitcase for our Hawaiian vacation next week.
I was gifted this copy by Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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