When last I wrote about our friend Charley Memminger, he had authored a book, Aloha Lady Blue, and was in the process of getting the hardcover onto store shelves and into our homes.
Well, he’s back, and with good news. The paperback version, published by Watermark, is out with a slightly reworked title to reflect a key plot point-- Aloha Lady Blue: The Mystery of Kahala Road.
Even better news-- Memminger has decided he will literally give away all of the royalties from the paperback sales. The lucky beneficiary? The Hawaiian Humane Society.
“It wasn’t going to make me rich and I’m not John Grisham,” Memminger says modestly. “ And I thought maybe I can help the community a little bit.”
Memminger is a former newspaperman and humor columnist and both facets of his background figure heavily in the plot and atmosphere of his novel.
Its lead character, Stryker McBride, is a former crime reporter living in self-imposed exile on a houseboat in Kaneohe Bay after being shot by a rogue cop during an investigation.
If you’re a local you’re likely to recognize characters based on real-life crime figures Memminger covered during his years as a reporter on the cop and court beats.
If you’re a Mainlander, Aloha Lady Blue introduces you to a grittier Hawaii that exists behind and beyond the sandy beaches and tourist hype.
Among the assortment of colorful local characters is a 400-pound hit man modeled after real-life Hawaii gangster Rodney Ching.
“His name is Tiny Maunakea and he’s 400 pounds, Chinese-Hawaiian like Rodney Ching was. And he speaks Victorian English.
“I think it’s hilarious, but there’s a dark secret toward the end.”
Figuring prominently in the plot are the two “gods,” Lono and Kane, McBride’s German Shepherds. It’s in their honor that Memminger chose to donate his profits to the Hawaiian Humane Society.
“I’ve got this relationship with Pam Burns (President of the Humane Society) going back several years. It’s hard to pick a nonprofit but I really have a personal connection with these guys.
“We have a dog from here. He lived 17 years. He was perfect for my daughter and then he passed away. And then we came back here and I got a cat. I found out I’m allergic to it.”
So they tried to give it away, but no one wanted a big adult cat. They were stuck with it.
Then they went back and got another cat. I’m not sure I understand the logic, but hey, rescuing animals is always a good thing.
Memminger doesn’t know how much money the Humane Society will make with his book, but “hopefully, if we can get it into Waikiki in some of the hotel shops and at the airport, it can become a staple that goes on for years and years.”
Aloha, Lady Blue: the Mystery of Kahala Road is available in softcover for $12.95 at bookstores and other retail outlets and from online booksellers, or direct from the publisher at www.bookshawaii.net.
It’s too late for Christmas, but go ahead and buy the book anyway. Buy it to help the Hawaiian Humane Society and to support a local author. And buy it because it’s a darn good read.