An Eternal Lei: A Leilani Santiago Hawai‘i Mystery

Naomi Hirahara. Prospect Park, $17.99 trade paper (206p) ISBN 978-1-684427-96-3

The Covid pandemic provides the backdrop for Edgar winner Hirahara’s entertaining sequel to 2019’s Iced in Paradise. By October 2020, travel restrictions have eliminated the tourism industry on Kaua‘i, and Leilani Santiago’s hopes of marketing her original shave-ice flavors beyond Hawaii have been dashed. She’s diverted from worries about her own future when an unconscious woman washes ashore on Waimea Bay. Before administering CPR, Leilani removes a lei from the woman’s body that reveals blistering on her chest and back. Leilani preserves the lei, which turns out to have a link to her best friend, Courtney Kahuakai, and Courtney’s family’s flower business. The woman is taken to a hospital, where she’s put into a medically induced coma. The police identify her as Yumi Hara, a Japanese travel agent who recently broke quarantine. At her peril, the ever curious Leilani looks into how Yumi ended up on the beach. A murder raises the ante. Hirahara seamlessly integrates real-life Covid impacts into a plot that’s peopled with fully realized characters. Fans of intrepid amateur sleuths will want to see more of Leilani. Agent: Susan Cohen, PearlCo Literary. (Mar.)