Monday, February 12, 2024

Winter in June

 Winter in June (2009) by Kathryn Miller Haines

1943. The war in the South Pacific has been heating up. When aspiring actress Rosie Winter learns that her ex-boyfriend is MIA in the South Pacific, she decides to join the USO with the idea of using the tour to search for Jack. (Like the South Pacific isn't a might big place...) She convinces her best friend Jayne to join her and they find themselves in San Francisco waiting to board a naval vessel where they will join a troop led by the famous actress Gilda DeVane. Lined up on the dock, they're delayed when a body is found in the bay. They later find out that the dead woman was formerly a WAC stationed on the very island which will serve as their home base in the South Pacific. 

That's not the only mysterious business on this trip. Kay, another of their troop, is also an ex-WAC who knew the dead woman. They learn that the woman who died in San Francisco had thought she knew who was responsible for supplies that had gone missing from the camp on Tulagi Island. Then someone takes potshots at the actresses during one of the performances. Jayne is slightly wounded, but Gilda is killed. Is there a connection to the WAC's death? Oh...and don't forget Jack. First, Rosie is told he's dead--killed by a shark. But then she finds out he may be alive. Who's telling the truth? And what are the others hiding?

I don't know if I'm just tired or if my summary really is as much of a mess as I think it is. If it is...well, there's good reason for that. This book was, in my opinion, a bit of a mess. The mystery was all over the place and I love (where's the sarcasm font when you need it) how absolutely everyone is either on the island Rosie goes to or used to be on the island. Looking for Jack in the middle of the South Pacific--guess which island he was last seen on? Dead woman was a WAC? Well, of course, she was stationed on that island too. So was Kay. And, quite frankly, the mystery doesn't make a whole lot of sense--neither the mystery surrounding Jack's disappearance nor the mystery of the WAC and Gilda. The latter felt contrived. And I was disappointed that Jack's situation was never really explained fully. 

Once upon a time I read the first of this series and I liked the unusual motive for murder and plot well enough that I snapped this one up when I found it at Half Price Books. I don't know if Rosie's character has changed that much from the first book to now (this is third in the series) or if I have changed, but I really didn't care for her much at all and she isn't much of an amateur sleuth. At the end of the book, she talks about how selfish she is--and she's right, She has been incredibly selfish...not in a mean-spirited way; she's mostly just oblivious. The best part of the book (and earning all the stars) are the descriptions of life in the USO and the life of those stationed on the islands. Good descriptions of the locale as well. But not the best of mysteries. ★★

First lines: I was hoping we'd get champagne for our bon voyage. Instead, we got a corpse.

Last line: It only seemed fair that if she was willing to accompany me on my journey, I would do the same for her.


Deaths = 4 (two shot; two enemy fire)

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