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“Graeme Kent knows how to weave a good story and validate the local ways of belief, tradition, and community… File this series also under spunky women, and wonderful independent local residents who know a whole lot more than the armed colonizers landing among them. And, of course, under respectable detection methods and marvelous psychological juggling of detective, criminal, and witnesses.” —Kingdom Books
"A gripping story, a loving look at different cultures and a fond portrayal of two very different investigators." —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“This second clever and atmospheric Sister Conchita and Sergeant Ben Kella mystery is just as appealing and enjoyable as the first (Devil-Devil, 2011). The exotic locale of the Solomon Islands in the last days of colonialism makes the series stand out.” —Booklist
“A cozy mystery in nature and the second book in a series by Graeme Kent, this book takes the reader to the heart of an investigation by a nun and a native police Sergeant…. the setting is so unique that it absorbs the reader to end. Definitely a good read.” —Mystery Tribune
“Even for those without an interest in U.S. history, Kent’s latest novel has much to offer. Kent provides vivid descriptions of the Solomon Islands, highlighting both their beauty and their danger. He also excels at characterization, creating appealing protagonists and vivid secondary characters…. Kent also writes with a light touch about serious political and social concerns. On one occasion, he has Kella and Mary Gui, who like Kella was born in the Islands but educated abroad, stop for a drink at the Mendana Hotel. The dismay of the hotel guests at their entry into a “whites only” establishment is narrated with disarming humor.” —Mystery Series Examiner
Praise for Devil-Devil:
“Truly fabulous.... This is a series, and a writer, to watch.”—Toronto Globe and Mail
“Will appeal to history buffs and those fond of exotic locales…. The Solomons, then a British protectorate, come fully alive in this absorbing adventure.” —Publishers Weekly
“Kent, a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction, fills Devil-Devil with a sparkling plot (complete with an unexpected conclusion) and a rich history of the Solomons and their native people. But it’s Kella and Conchita—and Kent’s wit—that makes this unusual mystery work, and readers will eagerly await the next installment.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted March 4, 2012
Mystery novels in exotic locales have always interested us but the new release One Blood set in Solomon Islands was probably one of the most refreshing ones that came to our desk in 2012. A cozy mystery in nature and the second book in a series by Graeme Kent, this book takes the reader to the heart of an investigation by a nun and a native police Sergeant.
A Brief Summary:
Ben Kella, sergeant in the Solomon Islands Police Force, as well as an aofia, a hereditary spiritual peacekeeper of the Lau people, is called to investigate acts of sabotage that threaten the local operations of a powerful international logging company. At the same time, Sister Conchita, a young nun who has been sent to Western part of Solomon Islands gets her hands dirty with a suspicious death of an American tourist.
As each of them progress with their investigation, their path cross and finally Conchita and Kella join forces to uncover the links between these goings-on. They detect arrival of some American tourists who show unusual interest in John F. Kennedy, who was once a wartime U.S. naval officer in the area but now, in 1960, thousands of miles away, about to become the thirty-fifth American President.
Although it's not the first time tourists and strangers have come to the Islands to find out more about the Kennedy's case, American Tourist's murder and the sabotage in the logging company's facility at the same time seem less of a coincidence.
Graeme Kent was head of BBC Schools broadcasting in the Solomon Islands for eight years. The experience of living in such beautiful place in the Pacific Ocean has given him an advantage in painting a unique picture of life and culture in this exotic spot. His second novel in Sister Conchita and Sergeant Kella Mysteries, therefore, has a sort of appeal in which is hard to find in many other stories. The author certainly takes his time to layout the foundation for the mystery: The plots are very slow moving and Kent provides a lot of back-stories and information about the native people's traditions and the local setting.
The JFK plot to me seemed a bit unrealistic and had some holes in it but at the same time I was curious to see how the story would end. There is an interesting twist at the end which I didn't expect and to the ending was satisfactory. Using humorous language and sharp funny lines was also a plus in terms of writing.
This is a slow moving story but the setting is so unique that it absorbs the reader to end. Definitely a good read. More at @MysteryTribune