This book nails the atmosphere of Pago Pago and American SamoaBrings back the feel of the place to me as I lived there for a short time many years ago John Enright s Pago Pago Tango introduces readers to Samoan detective Apelu Soifua returned to the Island after serving on the San Francisco Police Department Soifua s department has his hands full with a spate of murders except Soifua has been assigned dealing with a robbery in a paalangi outsider in this and
most cases American community Mystery readers will of course realize that cases American community Mystery readers will of course realize that detective of Soifua s ability and the protagonist of the story won t be ept on the sidelines for longMr Enright has written 4 tales in this series I ve enjoyed the first two and hope that other readers discover him and his prized character Detective Soifua With a few readers I m sure we can be treated to a 5th and beyond book in the seriesRATING 4 12 stars upgraded to 5 stars where 12 stars are not acknowledged I had the rare good fortune to have a job that allowed me to get to now the territory of American Samoa the only flag flying part of t This was a pretty standard mystery set in American Samoa I ve never read anything set in this locale so was a pretty standard mystery set in American Samoa I ve never read anything set in this locale so descriptions of island life and Samoan culture were really fascinating to meDetective Sargent Apelu Soifua has been working the island beat for the last ten years since he and his family returned to Samoa from San Francisco to care for his ailing father Dear old dad has since passed away and Pelu is now taking care of the family land and working at the local police station Things begin to go bad when he is asked to look into a burglary at a local palangi neighborhood The wife of corporate boss at the SeaKing tuna processing plant reports that her home has been broken into and some videotapes and a VCR have been stolen But something about the break in and the tapes that have gone missing doesn t uite add up Pelu begins his investigation and other odd incidents start happening around the island Gang violence crimes against other palangi mystery tapes showing up at the local video store all add up to an interconnected crime but Pelu isn t sure who to trustA decent mystery and a very interesting setting I would like to now about this area and will definitely be picking up the next in this series Detective Sergeant Apelu Soifua is somthing of a Samoan Columbo with his deceptive mannerisms disguising his War Songs keen mind I truly enjoyed this crime novel I raised my rating to 4 stars after reading this again As a crime novel it s fine compelling does the trick But I love this book have read it twice am continuing with the series because I work in American Samoa on the island of Tutuila where this is based From that perspective Enright does a superb job of portraying the culture history of American Samoa He should as he is former Director of the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office I didn tnow that upon my first read wasn t sure if he was getting all his facts right since I hadn t heard much of it before But I ve si. Detective Sergeant Apelu Soifua spent seven years in the San Francisco Police Department where the job was just a job and solving crimes reuired cool detachment But back home on American Samoa life is personal especially for a cop Because on a small island where no one is a stranger and secrets are widely nown but nev.
John Enright ë 3 charactersTied to white interference goes on and on There are two other books in this series I will be reading them to continue to follow Pelu s career and to LEARN ABOUT HIS PEOPLE S CULTURE about his people s culture to see if there are any solutions to be found for American Samoa s problems perhaps suggested by Enright based on his observations having made the island his home for almost three decades Detective Sergeant Apelu Soifua in Tafuna American Samoa makes distinctions between crimes involving Samoan natives and those involving palangi white people pronounced puh LANG ee In the former cases everyone new what happened and why and usually the perpetrator would either be waiting for Apelu already collared and ready to confess or easily identified and apprehended Chapter 3 But with the palangi the police rarely new what had really happened When someone breaks into the upscale home of SeaKing Tuna executive Gordon Trurich and his vodka swilling trophy wife Karen Apelu uickly realizes there are unknowns than usual First of all the mode of entry differed from that of the recent string of robberies Secondly why would burglars take a VCR and 50 videotapes most just home made ones and then dump the VCR on the edge of the property but
take the tapes The same tapes that Mr Trurich forgot to mention on the policethe tapes The same tapes that Mr Trurich forgot to mention on the police This narrative is set in the early 1990s And why did neither Gordon nor Karen Trurich report the357 that was stolen as well a gun later used in a shooting at a nightclub Later on even discrepancies and some mayhem emerge Apelu uickly realizes the case constitutes than a run of the mill burglary by teenaged gang members Himself a palangi who spent 26 years in the South Pacific John Enright has created a great protagonist in Apelu an imperfect man at odds with his people s missionary culture his religious and strict wife and his superiors at police headuarters Pago Pago is pronounced Pango Pango so that the title is said Pango Pango Tango that s perfect because Apelu finds himself dancing a very intricate dance between palangi and native cultures between traditional views of honor and its modern consumerist bent between his own sense of justice and his strained relationship with his superiors between the overwhelming demands of his job and the needs of his family Enright has a great mystery With A Suspenseful Ending Of a suspenseful ending of but what I really welcome was the chance to learn about American Samoa about which I new virtually nothing Enright has created a valentine to with this debut novel while not shying away from the sordid aspects of life in a supposed paradise the subverting of native culture the destructiveness of inter village rivalries and resentments the corruption and nepotism involving the traditional chiefs As with the novels of Robert van Gulik Pago Pago Tango provided this armchair traveler a chance I d not otherwise get to see another faraway culture from the insideThe next book in the so called Jungle Beat series Fire Knife Dancing appears later this month I can t wait for a return visit to Tafuna. E evidence piles up Apelu follows a tangled trail between cultures dead bodies hidden codes and a string of lies on his hunt for the ugly truth buried at the heart of paradiseSet against the steamy backdrop of the Samoan jungle this thoughtful whodunit introduces a memorable new gumshoe to the ranks of detective fictio. Nce been back to American Samoa learned of his past Life Listened Again The I Know About American Samoa The listened again The I now about American Samoa the this book gets It reminds me of Arthur Conan Doyle s A Study in Scarlet because much of that famous book is less mystery than a primer in the history sinister nature of early Mormonism in the US Similarly Enright does a superb job of portraying the current state of American Samoan culture putting it in historical context I do love a pulpy detective novel that takes me around the world but than that I love when I can imagine
every scene being described because I have been there now those streetsscene being described because I have been there Cucina Povera know those streets well done I m on to the next in the series so far it s just as historically culturally exciting American Samoa is a place I am highly unlikely to ever get a chance to visit so I ll probably have to settle for armchair tourism and this debut mystery is my first visit The book The crime part was a OK nothing special Detective Sergeant Apelu was a good character eminently likeable and his views of the palangis were uite humorous Some very interesting insights into the culture of the Samoans and the problems facing them due to their reliance on US funds and the scourge of Ice What a find this mystery turned out to be I found it by accident as I was searching for books for my Read Around the World challenge It is set in contemporary American Samoa and proved to be a welcome lesson in the culture and history of the island as well as a strongly plotted mystery I really liked the main character Det Sgt Apelu Soifua or Pelu for short A family man with a scarred past as a former San Francisco cop and drug user Pelu has returned to his native island and reclaimed his life in order to become a dedicated father husband and police officer He loves his culture at least most of it and worries about the impact of many decades of white culture and inhabitants on the island This book is as much about Samoan culture as it is a well constructed mystery And John Enrightnows whereof he speaks A former journalist for Fortune Time and Newsweek Enright spent twenty six years living on American Samoa teaching college courses He is interested in cultural folklore having studied it at UC Berkeley and weaves Samoan stories and cultural tidbits throughout his book Pelu believes in many of the old ways and actively practises them as part of his daily life This book saddened me at times as Enright describes many of the negative effects white culture and economic endeavours have had on the island The tuna canning industry represented by the famous Charlie the Tuna of Starkist fame does not come off favourably in Enright s text The palangi or whites have been having considerable impact on American Samoa since it was used by the Navy in 1907 as a base A huge population of wild dogs a garbage plagued harbor with badly contaminated fish severe damage to the island s reefs from cannery waste declines in native birds and plants replaced by invasive species brought to the islands by white outsidersthe list of problems. Er discussed solving crimes reuires a certainfinesseHere Apelu must walk the line between two cultures Samoan versus American native versus new And that gulf never yawns wider than when a white family’s home in Pago Pago is burglarized And what appears to be a simple open and shut case turns out to anything but As th.