Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Winter in June-Kathryn Miller Haines

Winter in June
Kathryn Miller Haines
Harper, May 19 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061579561

In 1943 wannabe actress Rosie Winter and her friend Jayne are getting ready to sail on the Queen of the Ocean, which will take them to the recently cleared of the Japanese militarily important Solomon Islands. While waiting in line to board the ship, a shot is heard and the body of a woman floating in the water is seen. Passengers panic, but USO Camp Show performers Jayne and Rosie remain eager to entertain the troops. They look forward to meeting the rest of the troupe especially top Hollywood star Gilda Devane, a wild child just released from her contract.

When they arrive at Tulagi, the main U.S. base of operations in the South Pacific, they find out that the dead woman was Captain Irene Zinn, a WAC with an MGM contract. Rosie has another reason for coming to the Solomon Islands; her former boyfriend Jack was here and she wants to know what happened to him. They learn that someone is stealing medical supplies, but so far no one has been able to catch the perpetrator. During a performance, one of the dancers is wounded and another killed. Rosie thinks the murder here is linked to the death of the WAC. She also finds out that Jack is missing, had used an alias, and is impossible to trace. Rosie determines the missing medical supplies, the homicides, and Jack tie together leading to heartache for her.

Mindful of Bob Hope shows in Viet Nam, this vivid WWII mystery depicts life as a USO entertainer as Kathryn Miller Haines provides depth to her insightful look back to the war in the Pacific. Rosie is a strong willed independent person who places herself in danger while performing for the military. The mystery enhances an engaging glimpse of Hollywood goes to war.

Harriet Klausner