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Devil-Devil (Kella & Conchita Mystery 1) [Paperback]

Graeme Kent
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Jun 2011 Kella & Conchita Mystery 1
It's 1960 and Sergeant Ben Kella of the Solomon Islands police force is only a few days into a routine patrol of the most beautiful yet dangerous and primitive areas of the South Pacific. Yet, already, he has been cursed by a magic man, stumbled across evidence of a cult uprising and failed to find an American anthropologist who has been scouring the mountainous jungle in search of a priceless erotic icon. To complicate matters further, at a local mission station, Kella discovers the redoubtable Sister Conchita secretly trying to bury a skeleton, before a mysterious gunman tries to kill her. Mission-educated yet an aofia - the traditional peacemaker of the islands - Kella is forced to link up with Sister Conchita, an independent and rebellious young American nun, in order to track down the perpetrators of a series of bizarre murders . . .

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Devil-Devil (Kella & Conchita Mystery 1) + One Blood (Kella & Conchita Mystery 2) + Killman (Kella & Conchita Mystery 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson (23 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849013403
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849013406
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 664,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Truly fabulous ... Sister Conchita and Kella are already committed to a sequel. This is a series, and a writer, to watch."--"Toronto Globe and Mail""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""Kent's first mystery is the beginning of a new and promising series.... The atmosphere and setting are integral to both character and plot and lend a unique note to this solid mystery. Definitely a series to watch."--"Booklist"

Book Description

An delightfully exotic new crime series set in the Solomon Islands featuring Sergeant Kella and Sister Conchita.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable! 4 Aug 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I found this a great read: well written, with a sound and believable plot, interesting characters and enough detail about the islands and their beliefs to be intriguing, without over-doing it and becoming didactic.

If you like mysteries set in exotic locations and full of local colour, this is definitely for you. It should also appeal to anyone who likes their stories to come with greater than usual amounts of thoughtfulness about how people might get on across racial and religious boundaries. Ben Kella reminds me somewhat of Jim Chee in Tony Hillerman's Navajo mysteries. He's western-educated, highly intelligent and, perhaps because of the latter quality, open-minded enough to value his indigenous culture and religious beliefs. As 'aofia', the chosen judge and peacemaker of his people, as well as a policeman in a very British colonial administration, he is in a unique position to help people move from their traditional ways into a modern and alien world. It takes a toll on him, but you get the idea that he can handle it. If fact, he's just the kind of person you would love to be able to talk to on a whole range of human problems, well-versed in native wisdom, open-minded, and human enough to make mistakes and learn from them.

Sister Conchita is a little more stereotyped: the feisty nun, very much trying to live the religious life, yet constantly finding the letter of her religion in conflict with her humanity and good sense, and her more conventional and narrow-minded superiors aghast at her antics. In this book, she stumbles into a culture that sees the world very differently to her Chicago background. It a tribute to her strength of character that she survives and grows as a result. You come away with high hopes for her future adventures.

Thoroughly recommended. I can't wait for the next installment.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully refreshing 24 July 2011
A great read from start to finish.

The characters are superbly rounded and the interaction between the main two (sergeant Kella and sister Conchita) is sufficiently intriguing to carry on for many more stories - I see that this will be just the first in a series of novels and I will certainly be getting the next instalment.

The plot moves on at a pace that keeps interest throughout and has just enough twists to keep you surprised and guessing what will happen next.

It also gives a wonderful insight into the culture and traditions of pacific island life - a refreshing change from dreary city settings of other crime novels.

As a serial crime novel reader I would definately recommend this to other crime fans.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable read 19 Mar 2012
This is just a throughly enjoyable read. Its so fascinating finding out about life in the Solomon Islands, and the characters are just wonderful. You get a feeling that the author really knows what he's talking about and Sargeant Kella is terrific. The plotline is not transferable to any other place on earth, and that's what makes it extra-special. Great book. I cannot wait to read the next one.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your average crime detective 9 Jan 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I would never normally have considered a book such as this, were it not for the fact that I am undertaking the Around the World Reading Challenge, where you read a book set in every country of the world. While it is true that I have read quite a lot of crime fiction during the past few years, most of this has been based in Scandinavian, a part of the world that I am not a lot more familiar with than the South Pacific.

Initially I found this book quite heavy going, and the characters, Kella especially difficult to relate to - I suspect this was because the culture and the way of thinking described in this book is so alien and so different to anything I have encountered before. I persevered though, and by the time I was halfway through the book I was hooked.

Where else would you encounter so many interesting characters and story lines than here - a missing anthropologist, a Melanesian detective with a white Catholic education, a feisty American nun, remote bush tribes and exotic women in grass skirts. Add to the mix, cargo cults, death curses and pornographic icons, and you have a pretty good idea as to what this book is about.

This book, written by a former headmaster and BBC producer, who lived and worked on the islands for 8 years, gives fascinating insights into a unique way of life, and to me at least, made a refreshing change from the more northerly crime detectives that I am more used to. Devil Devil is the first of what is hoped to be a whole series of books - I look forward with anticipation to the second installment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book on so many levels 3 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
It was the cover illustration and the map of the Solomon Islands that attracted me to this book on a wet summer’s afternoon. G. W. Kent is steeped in the geography, history and culture of the Islands following service as an Education Consultant to the South Pacific Commission and head of the Solomon Islands’ schools broadcasting service. However, he is also a born storyteller and weaves this complex information into his mystery with only the occasional jarring exposition.

The book is set in the early 1960s, a time when the local population is beginning to consider independence from their colonial masters who were thinking of other things [‘He may have been one of the despised expatriate dregs of Empire, but he was determined to get at least one more promotion on some neglected rock before the few remaining British overseas dependencies dwindled away.’].

The main characters are Sister Conchita, a recently-arrived independent-minded American Marist missionary in her early twenties, and Ben Kella, a thirty-something sergeant in the Solomon Islands police force, one of the leading candidates for preferment after independence and a hereditary spiritual peacemaker [or aofia] for all of the people of the Lau region of the island of Malaita . Sister Conchita is regarded by Kella as a neena, a person under his protection by virtue of her unfamiliarity with unwritten native laws. Kent uses these characters and Kella’s Catholic upbringing to point to his difficult position between the indigenous islanders and the authorities.

The two, who meet at the beginning of the book, work independently and together to solve a series of murders going back to the fighting with the Japanese in WW II.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked the two main characters yet not sure if there ...
This trotted along pleasantly enough. Liked the two main characters yet not sure if there is enough pull for me to go on to the subsequent volumes.
Published 29 days ago by happy reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I didn't enjoy this book.
Published 1 month ago by Jaqs 153
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Really interesting story with good characters. I enjoyed the Solomon islands setting an area I knew little about prior to this book but that only enhanced the reading experience.
Published 6 months ago by Sarah Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Solomon Islands
We lived there for 15 years. Loved it and the people.
Great story.
Would recommend this book. Plan to read the follow-ups.
Published 8 months ago by willa
5.0 out of 5 stars Detective story with a little bit of a difference
I love reading murder mysterys and I really enjoyed reading this book. The lead characters were really interesting and it was great to have strong male and female roles with no... Read more
Published 9 months ago by C D Bull
5.0 out of 5 stars Exotic location for a murder mystery.
A great read. Well written, convincing characters and plot. Add to that a very exotic location that the author obviously knows and loves and you have a winner.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly woven detective mystery.
Superb detective work in an 'end of colonial days' setting, with the pace, place, tensions and customs of the island carefully woven into the texture of the plot. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Elizabeth Westray
2.0 out of 5 stars Meandering
Too contrived to use the culture of the Solomon Islands which is woven into the story with explanations - distracting from the flow.
Published 18 months ago by Albert
4.0 out of 5 stars Will read more in this series
It's the 1960s and the Solomon Islands have a policeman Ben Kella who is also a peacemaker - vey important to local traditions and society. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Louiseog
3.0 out of 5 stars Culture Clash
I think quirky is the word, the plot is secondary to the characters and the unlikely alliance of the maverick policeman and a rebellious nun ! Read more
Published on 7 Aug 2012 by A. E. Williams
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