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A Sister Conchita and Sergeant Kella Mystery – Book I
G W Kent

Robinson (Constable & Robinson)
23 June 2011/ ISBN 1849013403
Historical Mystery 1960 Solomon Islands
Amazon US || UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Sergeant Ben Kella could be a big man in the Solomon Islands as he is an aofia, the hereditary peacemaker of his people. Instead he is in the police force, and constantly in trouble with his superiors for being a free spirit, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Charged with finding the whereabouts of a missing American anthropologist he gets cursed by the islands’ version of a witch doctor and finds himself embroiled with a young American nun when she discovers a group of people burying a skeleton…

Books set in the Solomon Islands are pretty thin on the ground, and this one is a first for the genre of historical mystery. Set in 1960 when the islands are on the verge of gaining their independence, this fascinating and very enjoyable novel is worth reading not only for its story but also for an insight into a little-known place. At first I thought that I would rather have read a novel set in the islands today, but choosing to set it in 1960 gives the author the chance to show us something special. He portrays a place poised on the brink of modernity, yet very much a part of traditions stretching back hundreds of years. The plot is engaging too, with plenty of twists and turns, also giving us a glimpse of what life would have been like during the Second World War. In fact there is so much in this comparatively slim book that you almost need to put a rubber band on it to stop it all bursting out. I hope that this is the first installment of a very long series indeed, or the reading public has no taste!

Reviewer's Note:
Reviewed 2011
© 2011