Glatzer, Hal 1946–

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Glatzer, Hal 1946–


Born January 31, 1946, in New York, NY; son of Harold (an attorney) and Glenna (an English teacher) Glatzer; married Kathleen Francovic (a director of surveys), August 22, 1992. Education: Syracuse University, B.A., 1967; University of Hawaii, M.A., 1979; graduate study at Hilo College. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Playing banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, autoharp, and dulcimer in the style of traditional mountain music and Bluegrass; reading, watching television, gardening.


Home—San Francisco, CA.


Writer, journalist, editor, musician, and computer consultant. Honolulu Advertiser, Hilo, HI, bureau chief, 1971; Orchid Isle (magazine), Hilo, editor, 1971-74; KITV-News, Hilo, reporter, 1975; Oceanic Cablevision, Honolulu, HI, news director, 1976; television producer in Honolulu and Seattle, WA, 1976; People, New York, NY, Hawaii correspondent, 1976-80; The Printout, Honolulu, editor, 1979-80; Words and Pictures, Seattle, chief executive officer, 1980; computer consultant in Seattle, 1980; Software News, Westborough, MA, West Coast correspondent, 1983; Key Thinkers, Inc., Oakland, CA, partner, 1985. Curator of an exhibit of sheet music from Broadway and Tin Pan Alley. Former member of Big Island Committee on Crime Prevention. Delegate for the Democratic Convention in Kansas City, MO, 1974.


American Association for the Advancement of Science, Union of Concerned Scientists, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Computer Press Association (vice president, 1985-87), Hawaii Professional Writers, Art Deco Society of California (served as director), Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime.


Media Award, American Cancer Society, 1978.


Kamehameha County (journalistic novel), Friendly World Enterprises (Pepeekeo, HI), 1974.

Introduction to Word Processing, Sybex (Berkeley, CA), 1981.

The Birds of Babel: Satellites for a Human World, H.W. Sams (Indianapolis, IN), 1983.

Who Owns the Rainbow? Conserving the Radio Spectrum, H.W. Sams (Indianapolis, IN), 1984.

The Trapdoor, 1986.

Murder on the Kona Coast, 1987.

Too Dead to Swing: A Katy Green Mystery, John Daniel (Santa Barbara, CA), 2002.

A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen, Perseverance Prese/John Daniel & Co. (McKinleyville, CA), 2004.

The Last Full Measure, John Daniel & Co. (McKinleyville, CA), 2006.

Contributor to local magazines and to Christian Science Monitor.

Author of short stories adapted to audio plays, starring Mark Markheim, the Hollywood hawkshaw, including "A Dead Body's a Deal-Breaker" and "Vengeance in Vegas."


Too Dead to Swing was originally performed as an audio play for Audio-Playwrights in 2000.


Hal Glatzer is a former journalist who has turned to writing mystery fiction. His novel Too Dead to Swing: A Katy Green Mystery, for example, was originally performed as an audio-play. However, Glatzer constructed the book as though it were a newly discovered unpublished novel from the 1940s by an author named Hannah Dobryn. In all the Katy Green novels published to date, Glatzer pays particular attention to creating an accurate voice and outlook for Katy. "My technique for doing this is to think of them as having been written by someone else, a woman called Hannah Dobryn, who is writing in the years just after WWII, when the pre-war years were still a fresh memory," Glazter remarked in an interview on the Fugue in Hell's Kitchen Web site. "This enables me to keep the setting in mind, and frees me to imagine how a woman of Katy's generation would write."

In Too Dead to Swing, the story centers around an allgirl 1940s swing band. When one of the members is attacked, musician and amateur sleuth Katy Green joins the band. As the group travels by train, members of the band are murdered one by one. Library Journal reviewer Rex E. Klett wrote that the novel's "simple, easy-going style" was engaging and recommended Too Dead to Swing to fans of Forties noir mysteries.

A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen finds swing musician Katy giving violin lessons in order to make a living in New York, where male musicians always get the best band jobs and playing gigs. Soon, Emily finds herself embroiled in helping her friend, Chinese immigrant Amalia Chen, defend herself against accusations of theft. A professor at the Meyers Conservatory, Amelia had recently checked a priceless autographed Nicholas Paganini manuscript out of the conservatory's library. The manuscript is stolen from her cello case during a radio performance, but is later inexplicably returned. When the library discovers that the returned manuscript is a forgery, Amalia is accused of stealing the original. Arrested and jailed, Amalia suffers the prejudice and discrimination facing Asians on the cusp of World War II. While helping her friend by searching for the manuscript, Katy also investigates the death of the conservatory's dean, Iris Meyers, and the librarian. "Lively, likable Katy and a colorful array of suspects add up to some breezy, nostalgic fun," commented a Kirkus Reviews critic.

In The Last Full Measure, set in the days before the Pearl Harbor attack, Katy is invited by her musician friends Lillian and Ivy to play aboard the luxury cruise ship Lurline on a trip to Hawaii. Katy gladly joins the ship's all-female band, the "Swingin' Sarongs." Fronting the group is Hawaiian singer Roselani Akau, an eclectic musician who combines native Hawaiian music with the swing standards of the day. Katy achieves a major victory when she convinces noted composer Phillip DeMorro to join the Sarongs for some sets aboard ship. The arrival of Roselani's twin brother Bill, a competitive surfer, intrigues almost everyone on the Lurline, especially since Bill and Lillian are clearly lovers. Katy, meanwhile, seeks companionship among a group of Japanese-American military men, particularly Shunichi "Danny Boy" Ohara. Katy is astonished when Lillian reveals to her that she and Bill plan to dig up a valuable Akau family treasure buried somewhere in Hawaii. Before this plan can unfold, however, Bill is murdered and, in an atmosphere of virulent anti-Japanese prejudice, Danny Boy is arrested as a suspect. Katy knows that Danny Boy is not the murderer, and sets out to locate the real murderer and bring him, or her, to justice. The author "portrays the life of working musicians (or, more often, looking-for-work musicians) with authority and charm," observed a writer in Publishers Weekly. "Glatzer's ambitious mix of mystery and history hits all the right notes," remarked a Kirkus Reviews contributor.

Glatzer told CA: "I am an eclectic radical thinker…. I believe in God and Mankind. I do not believe in owning land. I believe in beating swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks. I do not study war."



Booklist, April 15, 1982, review of Introduction to Word Processing, p. 1052; May 1, 2001, review of Too Dead to Swing: A Katy Green Mystery, p. 1617.

Book World, October 3, 1982, review of Introduction to Word Processing, p. 11.

California Bookwatch, May, 2006, "Perseverance Press," review of The Last Full Measure.

Journalism Quarterly, summer, 1985, review of Who Owns the Rainbow? Conserving the Radio Spectrum, p. 425; autumn, 1985, review of The Birds of Babel, p. 675.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2003, review of A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen, p. 1425; February 1, 2006, review of The Last Full Measure, p. 113.

Library Journal, March 1, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of Too Dead to Swing, p. 143; March 1, 2004, Rex E. Klett, review of A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen, p. 111.

New York Times, August 23, 1992, "Weddings; Kathleen Francovic and Hal Glatzer."

Publishers Weekly, December 4, 2000, review of Too Dead to Swing, p. 32; January 30, 2006, review of The Last Full Measure, p. 43.

San Francisco Review of Books, September, 1982, review of Introduction to Word Processing, p. 30.


A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen Web site, (January 2, 2007), interview with Hal Glatzer.

Audio Playwrights Web site, (January 2, 2007).

BookLoons, (January 2, 2007), Mary Ann Smith, review of A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen.

Last Full Measure Web site, (January 2, 2007), biography of Hal Glatzer., (January 2, 2007), Nancy Mehl, review of Too Dead to Swing., (January 2, 2007), Jennifer Monahan Winberry, review of Too Dead to Swing.

Too Dead to Swing Web site, (January 2, 2007), biography of Hal Glatzer.