“even the smallest of problems are of interest to me” [BLUE]
Reviewing He Huli ʻUlaʻula: A Study in Scarlet in 2021 was a great revelation. Leilehua Yuen's introductory tale of Kamalka Holmes and Fevronia Watkins was a delight with the desire to read more stories. Thankfully, the recently released Ka Pōhaku Makamae: The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle or The Adventure of the Christmas Goose is also a delight and a worthy follow-up to Ms. Yuen's first book.
Taking its inspiration from the canonical story “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” Ka Pōhaku Makamae provides a great holiday-themed Holmesian pastiche that provides a rich and unique setting.
Intended to be the third in a series, Ka Pōhaku Makamae has a great mix of hope and melancholy in telling its tale. Although finding a gem in the neck of a Christmas goose is a key element, the story finds Kamalka Holmes and Fevronia Watkins looking into several of the strange circumstances around this blue gem.
Like He Huli ʻUlaʻula, Ms. Yuen crafts an engaging tale that uses late 19th-century Hawaii in the same way Conan Doyle used Victorian London. Not only is the plot of Ka Pōhaku Makamae engaging, but it provides an intriguing backdrop that provides insight into a little-known era of history.
There are tantalizing details that would be worthy of further stories (like the suggestion that a Hawaiian prince desired to fight in the American Civil War), However, Ms. Yuen's mix of everyday family issues within the overall plot provides a strong emotional core that compliments the overall mystery.
But Ka Pōhaku Makamae also provides some great resources at the end of the book. In addition to a character list, Ka Pōhaku Makamae contains several appendices which include a glossary, an essay on historical context, and a list of Scottish Christmas recipes reflecting Fevronia Watkin's background. These appendices provide a great reading experience on their own as they serve as the foundation of the book's world-building. It also fosters the holiday-themed spirit within the story, providing some extra benefits to an already great story.
Ka Pōhaku Makamae - The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle or The Adventure of the Christmas Goose is a must-read for any Sherlockian. This great holiday-themed pastiche is a worthy follow-up to He Huli ʻUlaʻula is an excellent gift idea, for yourself or the Sherlockian in your life.
(NOTE: An electronic copy was provided for purposes of review)