“My necklace is gone! I left it right here, I know I did!” Jerria’s heart pounded. Not another theft.
Depressed over her youngest son leaving two years early for college– across the country no less!– Jerria takes up her husband Will’s offer of a relaxing Hawaiian cruise. But, a series of ominous events onboard the Ocean Haven squashes any idea of a calm tropical vacation. Soon Jerria’s very life is in danger, and she can’t blame the mythical Pele for this one.
Warm characters and rich descriptions of beautiful Hawaii bring this cozy mystery to life. If you’ve ever dreamed of the enchantment of a cruise ship vacation, Peril In Paradise is for you!
Targeted Age Group:: adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I believe good books start with a question, usually the What Would Happen If variety. In this case, I read about the migration routes of Hawaii’s giant sea turtles, and wondered what would happen if an international smuggling ring capitalizes on their predictable migration routes. Before long, Peril In Paradise was hatched.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
It’s odd to admit it, but I heard them speaking. Jerria, the main character, found herself glum at the new season of life thrust upon her. Will, her husband, would do anything to raise her spirits, and talks her into a cruise to Hawaii, planning surprises along the way. A calm start to a calm story, right? Not so; before long, Jerria’s very life in in danger, and we’re not sure if it’s because of the mythical Pele…who is no myth at all.
“Will, come see this. Is that Granby down there, talking to the forklift driver?” Stepping onto their suite’s teak balcony, Will moved to the railing next to Jerria. She was watching the cruise ship’s supplies being loaded onboard. For her, seeing the vast quantities of foodstuffs added to the excitement of the trip.
“Where, Honey? Oh, beside that pillar.” The flurry of activity below reminded him of an ant hill, a recently kicked one. “Sure looks like him. How did a cabin steward wrangle free time on embarkation day? Look there. Whole pallet of cream cheese. Enough to fill this hot tub here, though don’t know why anybody’d do that. What’s with the horns honking?”
“See, the choreography is off, because that forklift driver is standing over there with Granby. What’s he doing; can you see? It’s his turn to pick up that pallet of carrots, and it‘s putting everything else behind. Are they arguing, do you think?” Jerria strained to hear, or at least read their lips, but from their suite on Deck Nine, she couldn’t make out the words.
“Guess so; driver looks angry, waving his fist like that. Shouting. Odd, that. Cabin stewards don’t have free time on embarkation day. Can you see what’s in his hand? That black thing he passed him?” Will frowned; his wife’s curiosity was the stuff of family lore, but he wanted her to simply relax during this trip, not to get caught up in any drama between workers. Watching Granby run back to the ship, toward the crew gangway, he rubbed his arm.
Good, drama over.
Somewhat swept away by the Cruise Director’s fast-paced speech, Jerria ventured a question. “Cinci, Captain Storkmann recommended we attend the lecture on Pele later today. You don’t believe that nonsense, do you?” She heard Nan gasp behind her.
Cinci stopped in her tracks, her characteristic smile falling away. “Oh, yeah, I do. Pele is as real as you or me standing here, and does she get cranky! You’ll be fine. She shares her place; I think she likes showing off beautiful Hawaii. She won’t cross you if you don’t irritate her, but you want to show your respect in Hawaii. It’s not like the mainland. As you explore the beautiful islands, you will find lovely stones, and shells, and innocent looking volcanic rocks, and colored sand, and you’ll want to scoop some up to take home, as a cheap souvenir.”
Wagging her slim manicured finger, Cinci walked down the hall, and the others followed. “Don’t do it. Pele doesn’t share well. I’m telling you. If you take anything that belongs to Pele, she may well put a curse on you. I’ve heard of people getting sick, having crazy accidents, losing their jobs, crimes against them, happy marriages ending, teeth falling out, even death, after a vacation to Hawaii. You take Pele’s stuff, she takes yours, even though I think some of it she puts there to tempt you, like Mama baking cookies right before dinner. Hardly seems fair in my book, but there you are, with your backside smarting and your nose in the corner.”
Cinci shook her head ruefully. “Things don’t improve in your life until you return what belongs to Pele. Did you know there’s a couple on board right now, down on Deck Five, whose sole purpose is to return the sand and that glassy rock from Kilauea they took when they were here last year? Heckuva time, those poor people. Their grandson is still in the hospital after that last accident. Accident, my foot. Pele? Yeah, she’s real.”
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