Hawaiian Noir

Murder Calls

Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Aloha Friday didn’t make an appearance yesterday because she was busy with Christmas shopping. Six hours, to be exact. So I promised to tell you the number of books in our Christmas tree.

Drum roll please: Ta da da da—159 books.

Here’s what’s happening in the Islands at Christmas.

7BDFD7C5-0228-4148-8B18-F0D2B0F7F3DCDecember 6, the fifty-foot pine in front of Honolulu Hale was lit up and will remain lit until January 2,

Santa arrives early in Honolulu. He showed up at Waikiki beach on December 9 in an outrigger canoe.

6A6B5A14-5281-4D6C-ACC7-9A3A3CB5D771What do people do on Christmas? In Kailua, they are enjoying the beach and the surf.

Singing Mele Kalikimaka and the 12 Pidgin Days of Christmas.





Twelve Days of Christmas

Pidgin lyrics by Eaton Bob Magoon, Jr., Edward Kenny, Gordon N. Phelps

Number one day of Christmas My tutu gave to me

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah two day of Christmas My tutu gave to me 2 coconuts and

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah three day of Christmas My tutu gave to me 3 dried squid

2 coconuts and

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah four day of Christmas My tutu gave to me 4 flower leis,

3 dried squid

2 coconuts and

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah five day of Christmas My tutu gave to me 5 big fat pigs

4 flower leis

3 dried squid,

2 coconuts and

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah six day of Christmas My tutu gave to me 6 hula lessons,

(continue 5 4 3 2)

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah seven day of Christmas

My tutu gave to me

7 shrimps a swimming

(continue 6 5 4 3 2)

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah eight day of Christmas

My tutu gave to me

8 ukuleles,

(continue 7 6 5 4 3 2)

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah nine day of Christmas

My tutu gave to me

9 pounds of poi

(continue 8 7 6 5 4 3 2)

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah ten day of Christmas

My tutu gave to me

10 cans of beer

(continue 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2)

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah eleven day of Christmas

My tutu gave to me

11 missionaries

(continue 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2)

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Numbah twelve day of Christmas

My tutu gave to me

12 televisions

(continue 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2)

One mynah bird in one papaya tree


Time to get out the uke and practice.

BB292925-6284-4D76-A019-9C6A34E17254Christmas is around the corner. You’ve gotta know “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Get the tabs here: https://ukutabs.com/m/mariah-carey/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-you/












If you need some traditional melodies, here is the Ukulele Christmas Songbook: http://www.ukuke.co.uk/Ukulele%20Christmas%20Song%20Book.pdf

Let it Snow!



Texas Author Bill Crider

Many of you are already acquainted with Bill Crider and his work. If you are not, you should be. Bill is a writer’s writer. He not only writes stories that are worth reading over and over for enjoyment and inspiration, but he is knowledgeable about nearly all aspects of genre fiction, especially mystery, western, science fiction, and horror. Bill is a contributor to many lists such as Rara-Avis He has been a fixture at many conventions, especially Bouchercon, Aggiecon, and many others. Most importantly, Bill has been a helpful and encouraging voice for beginning writers and a friend and advocate for established writers throughout the United States.

I first met Bill at a mystery workshop in Chicago about 1991 or 1992. He was a featured speaker and I was an unpublished nobody, but he was friendly, gracious and encouraging. At that time, I was a member of Brazos Writers and was on a committee to develop a writing workshop. I asked Bill if he would take part and he generously agreed, even though, as a small organization, we couldn’t offer much in remuneration.

Over the years, I encountered Bill at many conventions and communicated with him often by email. At Conmisterio in Austin, I shared a panel with Bill. The topic had to do with books and authors from our youth. I mentioned reading the Saint series by Leslie Charteris. Sometime later in the convention, Bill gave me a paperback of Saint stories he had found at a used bookstore that day and thought of me.

When The Splintered Paddle was published in 2014, Bill was kind enough to give me a pre-publication review it and write a blurb for it.

Those of you who have followed Bill’s blog, know that he is ill with cancer and has recently entered hospice care. For all of us who know him, it is truly sad news. There is not a kinder, gently, more knowledgeable person in the literary scene. On Friday, December 15, Patricia Abbott devoted a post of Friday’s Forgotten Books to Bill. Friends and followers of Bill contributed their thoughts and reviews of his work. You can read the testament to Bill here: https://pattinase.blogspot.com/2017/12/bill-crider-day-on-ffb-december-15-2017.html

Aloha Bill Crider!

Holiday Giveaway!


Christmas Book Tree

Yesterday, Mary Fran and I put up our tree, shown here. How many books make up the tree? If you think you know, send me an email at mark@marktroyauthor.com. The person who comes closest will receive an audiobook (Audible) of The Splintered Paddle. Send your guess by midnight, Thursday, December 21. I will make the announcement on December 22. You can be over or under. Closest wins. Hint: The stack has 39 levels.

A date that will live in infamy!

Yesterday, December 7, 2017, we remembered Pearl Harbor and the more than 2,000 sailors and soldiers who died in the early morning attack. Some twenty survivors attended the ceremony at Pearl Harbor yesterday.

In the aftermath of the attack, the islands were placed under martial law. The police and courts became militarized. The police were tasked with hunting spies and saboteurs. So who did the normal policing? Somebody had to write speeding tickets, respond to robberies and burglaries, and investigate crimes. In addition, there were now curfews that needed to be enforced. Much of the police work fell on volunteers.

The Honolulu Police Department already had a volunteer program in place. It was introduced in July 1941. This is where things get interesting. On December 6, 1941, the Spartans of San Jose State University played the Rainbow Warriors of the University of Hawaii in football. On December 7, the Spartan players woke up to learn the islands were under attack and they were stranded. Only naval vessels or ships carrying military cargo could enter or leave the islands. So, the players volunteered for the police department. Some eventually joined the armed forces and left, but others remained throughout the war. You can read about it on the Honolulu Police Department website. http://www.honolulupd.org/department/index.php?page=history

Go For Broke

The 100th Infantry Battalion first adopted “Remember Pearl Harbor” as their motto. They later adopted “Go For Broke.” Their original song was Remember Pearl Harbor. I don’t know who wrote the Remember Pearl Harbor lyrics. The Go For Broke lyrics were written by Martin Kida, who was killed in action.

History in every century
We recall an act that lives forevermore
We recall as into night they fall
The things that happened on Hawaii shore

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
As we go to meet the foe
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
As we did the Alamo

We will always remember
How they died for liberty
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
And go on to victory

Four Forty-Second Infantry
We are the boys of Hawaii Nei
We will fight for you
And the red white and blue
And will go the front
And back to Honolulu-lu-lu
Fighting for dear old Uncle Sam
Go for broke we don’t give a damn
We will round up the Huns
At the point of a gun
And victory will be ours
Go for broke! Four Four Two!
Go for broke! Four Four Two!
And victory will be ours.
All hail our company.


On Wednesday, I wrote about how the ukulele got its name. George S Kanahele, in his book, Hawaiian Music and Musicians: An Illustrated History, 1979, University of Hawaii Press, cites the Pukui-Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary, which is the authoritative source on the Hawaiian language. According to Pukui and Elbert, the name comes from an Englishman, Edward Purvis, who came to Honolulu in 1879 after serving in India as an army officer. Soon after his arrival, he took the post of assistant chamberlain to the court of King Kalakaua. Because of his size and nimbleness, the king nicknamed him “Ukulele,” “little jumping flea.” “Uku” meaning “flea,” and “lele” meaning jumping. Purvis was a fine musician and learned to play the braguinha well enough that he frequently performed for the court. He became so identified with the instrument that it came to be known by his nickname.

So now you know.

The Tiki Bar is open!

E15C0D6A-6645-430D-99DA-4DC31C7008D6The holiday season is upon us. If you’re hosting a party, what is more festive than a good punch? This one serves 12. It is called the Cinerama Luau Punch. It was created for the 1958 release of the Cinerama South Seas Adventure movie, the fifth in the Cinerama series of travelogue-type films composed of fictional vignettes in exotic places. In this movie you can fly over fjords of New Zealand, and surf big waves in Hawaii, among other adventures, all captured in the curved screen Cinerama style. If you are old enough to remember Cinerama, you are old enough to drink the punch.554EFEF7-D19C-47EC-B4B1-6689DFF2248F

8 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
8 oz fresh lemon juice
8 oz fresh lime juice
8 oz orange juice
2 oz orange curaçao
½ bottle of any white wine
1 ½ bottle gold Jamaican rum

Mix everything in a punch bowl and chill with ice.
This recipe came from Beachbum Berry.


Who invented the ukulele?

The ukulele is Hawaii’s iconic musical instrument, but the instrument itself did not originate in the Hawaiian islands nor was it invented by a Hawaiian. It is actually a development of a Portuguese stringed instrument, known as the machete or braguinha, a small guitar-like, four-stringed instrument. The machete was brought to the islands by three Portuguese woodworkers from the island of Madeira in 1879. The three, Manuel Nunes, Augusto Dias, and Jose do Espírito Santo, came under contract to work in the sugar cane fields. When their contracts expired after three years, they set up shops as woodworkers, their professions back in Madeira. All three made guitars and other stringed instruments in addition to furniture. Which one actually made the first instrument we now love, is unknown. The basic shape of the machete was retained. It was the adoption of the G-C-E-A tuning and the use of koa wood in construction that made it unique. Read more about Nunes, Dias and Santo here: http://www.ukulelemag.com/stories/the-birth-of-the-ukulele

Where does the name “ukulele” come from?

”Ukulule” is actually Hawaiian for “cat flea,” a pest that was imported in the early 1800s. Novelist Jack London wrote that “ukulele” means “jumping flea.” Certainly “uku” is Hawaiian for pests that included fleas and head lice. How did it get applied to the instrument? One account is that when Hawaiians play the instrument, their hands jump all over the fret board like fleas. Whatever the source, the instrument and its players are sometimes called “fleas.”

Ukulele Pic of the Week




Jim Nabors, R.I.P.

Long-time Hawai‘I resident, Jim Nabors has passed away in his Diamond Head home. He was 87. The Star Advertiser has the story.

Nabors moved to Hawai‘I in 1978 when he purchased a macadamia nut and flower plantation in Hana Maui. He was already a huge television star, best known as Gomer Pyle, first on the Andy Griffith Show and later on his own show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. His portrayal of Pyle made him into a staunch advocate of the Marines, who, in turn, bestowed on him honorary promotions to Lance Corporal, Corporal, and Sergeant.

During his long career, he appeared often on Carol Burnett’s specials. He also headlined several holiday shows from Hawai‘I and, in the late 1970’s appeared in the Polynesian Extravaganza at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome for ten months out of the year.


54 Bridges to Hana Town


Waterfall on the Hana Highway

Hana is a small town on the east coast of Maui. It is reached by way of the famous Hana Highway, a 64 mile narrow, cliff-hugging road from Kahului that puts the white in white knuckles. The drive takes 2.5 to 3 hours without stops. There are approximately 620 curves through lush tropical rain forests. The highway crosses 59 bridges (54 according to the song), 46 of which are one lane. The views are spectacular. You cross tumbling steams and pass cascading waterfalls on one side. On the other are steep cliffs and gorgeous ocean views. The speed limit is 25mph on most stretches of the highway, though some places it drops to 15. Not that anybody would dare to speed with all of those curves.

The rule on the one lane bridges is that the first car to the bridge has the right-of-way. There are some stretches where the road itself narrows to one lane and, in those places, the etiquette holds that the vehicle on the uphill side backs up to a spot where the other can pass.


Hana Cottage

Hana’s attractions are quiet and solitude. We stayed in a one room cabin in the midst of a tropical plantation, surrounded by flowering trees, plants, and myriads of birds. The location was so remote that had no WiFi and no cell service. In order to make a call we had to drive to the middle school and call from the parking lot.

Hana has a beach park, which is a gathering place for local families and canoe clubs. Other than that, there is not much to do in Hana.


Canoes at Hana Beach Park

Continuing beyond Hana, you come to Hamoa Beach, a crescent shaped silver and black beach lined with Hala trees. James Michener called it the most perfect South Pacific beach which happens to be in the North Pacific. The beach is open to the ocean and the surf can be rough, which makes it popular for surfing. We didn’t have a board, but the waves broke close enough in that we could swim out and body-surf. If you’re not a surfer, it’s a great place to relax on the sand


Hamoa Beach, Hana Maui


Go For Broke

The battle for the Gothic Line in the Appenine Mountains continued through April of 1945. On April 7, the 2nd Battalion pushed toward Belvedere. The enemy they faced was the Kesselring Machine Gun Battalion, a crack force. Sergeant Yukio Okutsu single-handedly knocked out three machine gun nests and captured four Germans at the the third one. That action broke the deadlock and, by nightfall, the ridge was in 442nd hands.

From April 9 to April 18, the 442nd continued to push northeast, taking town after town. They had to scale 3000 foot cliffs and battle entrenched Germans who had been ordered by the Fuhrer to hold at any cost. Finally they reached the town of Aulia and Mount Nebbione, which was heavily defended by the Germans. The Aulia road was the last remaining escape route to the Po Valley for the Germans.

The 442nd attacked on April 21. Private Joe Hayashi, of 3rd Battalion, K company, near the town of Tendola, single-handedly silenced three machine gun nests before being killed while perusing more Germans. On a fortified ridge named Colle Musatello, 2nd Lieutenant Dan Inouye led his men against two machine gun nests. Though shot in the stomach and he continued to lead his men on. He crawled to within ten yards of a third machine gun nest. Rising up to throw a grenade, he was struck in the arm by a rifle-fired grenade, which nearly severed his arm at the elbow. As his men rushed forward to help he ordered them to keep their distance, because his now dead hand clutched a live grenade. He prised the grenade from his hand and threw it left-handed at the machine gun, taking it out, and then charged the nest, firing his Tommy gun left handed and killing the occupants. Inouye wasn’t done. He continued leading his men until hit by another round, this time in the leg, which ended his fight.

Aulia fell to a 442nd pincer attack on April 25. The Germans surrendered in the hundreds. Two weeks later, on May 7, the war ended with Germany’s surrender.

Through the Gothic Line/Po campaign, 101 Nisei died and 874 were wounded. The 442nd was awarded Presidential Unit Citation signed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, which read, in part,

“. . . In four days, the attack destroyed positions which had withstood the efforts of friendly troops for five months. . .[The Combat Team] accomplished its mission of creating a diversion. . . which served as feint for the subsequent breakthrough of the Fifth Army forces into Bologna and the Po Valley. The successful accomplishment of this mission turned a diversionary action into a full scale and victorious offensive, which played an important part in the final destruction of the German armies in Italy. . .”

Medals of Honor

Okutsu, Yukio
Born: November 3, 1921 at Koloa Hawai‘i
Died: August 24, 2003
Rank: Technical Sergeant
Unit: 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Yukio Okutsu joined the Army in March 1943 and volunteered for the 100th Infantry Battalion.

Medal of Honor Citation

Technical Sergeant Yukio Okutsu distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 April 1945, on Mount Belvedere, Italy. While his platoon was halted by the crossfire of three machine guns, Technical Sergeant Okutsu boldly crawled to within 30 yards of the nearest enemy emplacement through heavy fire. He destroyed the position with two accurately placed hand grenades, killing three machine gunners. Crawling and dashing from cover to cover, he threw another grenade, silencing a second machine gun, wounding two enemy soldiers, and forcing two others to surrender. Seeing a third machine gun, which obstructed his platoon’s advance, he moved forward through heavy small arms fire and was stunned momentarily by rifle fire, which glanced off his helmet. Recovering, he bravely charged several enemy riflemen with his [[submachine gun]], forcing them to withdraw from their positions. Then, rushing the machine gun nest, he captured the weapon and its entire crew of four. By these single-handed actions he enabled his platoon to resume its assault on a vital objective. The courageous performance of Technical Sergeant Okutsu against formidable odds was an inspiration to all. Technical Sergeant Okutsu’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.


Inouye, Daniel K.
Born: September 7, 1924, Honolulu Hawai‘i
Died: December 17, 2012
Rank: Captain
Unit: 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Daniel Inouye served as a medical volunteer during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1943, when the prohibition against Japanese-Americans serving in the armed forces was relaxed, Inouye volunteered for the 442nd. He served in Italy where he was wounded. Following the war, he entered the Territorial legislature. After statehood, he was elected to congress as a representative and then as a senator.

Medal of Honor Citation

Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

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