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Pago Pago Tango (Jungle Beat Mystery) Paperback – 23 Oct 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (23 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612185002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612185002
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,825,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Enright was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1945. After serving stints in semi-pro baseball and the Lackawanna steel mills, he earned his degree from City College while working full-time at Fortune, Time, and Newsweek magazines. He later completed a master’s degree in folklore at UC-Berkeley, before devoting the 1970s to the publishing industry in New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. In 1981, he left the United States to teach at the American Samoa Community College and spent the next twenty-six years living on the islands of the South Pacific. Over the past four decades, his essays, articles, short stories, and poems have appeared in more than seventy books, anthologies, journals, periodicals, and online magazines. His collection of poems from Samoa, 14 Degrees South, won the University of the South Pacific Press’s inaugural International Literature Competition. Today, he and his wife, ceramicist Connie Payne, live in Jamestown, Rhode Island.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gs-trentham VINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Detective Sergeant Apelu Soifua makes a notable debut in a crowded field - no mean achievement for John Enright. The author, who lived and worked for many years in the Pacific islands of Samoa, makes much of their traditions and mannerisms in opening up a promising new arena for the police procedural. Impressively, he does so without in any way seeming to be patronising the native islanders; they emerge as human beings, good and bad, like the rest of us; maybe even a little better.

Details of the crime unfold slowly, making the Detective Sergeant's frustration all the more credible. Samoan born, he has lived in mainland USA and served for a number of years as an officer of the San Francisco Police Department. Now back on home soil, he investigates a break-in at the home of a palangi - a foreigner working for the local tuna cannery. The man has an unpleasant wife and a daughter caught between them. Apelu has a hard-working and often unsympathetic wife and a son whose scholastic and sporting actitivities he guiltily neglects.

The climax of the case is believable enough and exciting enough. Any reader seeking a refreshing alternative to the introspective gloom of all those Nordic policemen will enjoy the sunshine and music of the Pago Pago Tango.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By elsie purdon TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Apelu Soifua is an American/Samoan policeman based in Pago Pago the capital of Tutuila Island , in American Samoa.
He is sent to investigate a burglary in the home of Gordon Trurich the American manager of the Tuna Cannery Plant.
What appeared to be a simple break-in turns out to be anything but.
This is an interesting story which not only deals with the crime but also examines the differences between Samoans and the palangis (a word from papalangi,meaning sky breakers. their word for the white people coming to the islands.)
Palangis have brought their ways of crime, and prisons with them. Their ways of thinking have changed ways on the Islands.
Apelu tells of the changes on the Island just in his lifetime. An example would be the flying foxes once so numerous and now a protected species as they are so endangered.
The cannery plays a part in the story and we learn a little of the life of the boat crews the part it plays in the economy of the island and the pollution it creates.
Apelu is a friendly and insightfull character and one gets the feeling he is a police man because it's a job rather than calling.
The author, John Enright spent 26 years living and working in the South Pacific so he knows his stuff! I did think the characters might well be based on people he has known or seen during his time there.
An interesting crime story in a different setting. I enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to reading the second novel which is also published.
I think this a good crime story with lots of information about a location and people I knew nothing about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 May 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a crime fiction novel set on the island of Samoa and featuring Apelu, a local man who has also served as a San Francisco Police Officer. The main crime investigated in the book concerns the break-in to a white family's home and the theft of some items. The investigation will lead to a web of local corruption, drug smuggling, and other deaths. Apelu has to break through local apathy to find out what has happened and to bring the criminal activities of some local people to a halt.

This was a very unusual setting for a book. I have never read a novel set in Samoa before. The author tries very hard to describe the local environment and culture to the reader. There are plenty of details about the recent history of the island, the jungle, the relationship between the American incomers and the indigenous people, the rapidly developing drugs trade, and the destruction of the local environment and wildlife by pollution. Although we had good description I didn't feel at any time that either Apelu or the author had any real affection for the island. The writing was very objective and unjudgemental resulting in a telling of facts rather than giving a picture of how the author feels about the island and its people.

It was not just in the descriptive part of the book that I felt that there was a lack of feeling. We are continually told what Apelu does but we are given no isight into his feelings or emotions. What does he feel about his wife ? Is he attracted to Lupe ? Does he like living on the island ? Does he regret returning for family reasons ? What does he think about the drugs issues he is investigating ? It is only occasionally that we get a glimpse into the character of Apelu and understand what he feels and thinks - we never get it at all with other characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. L. Rees TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 April 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Burglary from a wealthy resident's home. This seems a routine case until the deaths. What was stolen of such importance? Clearly there has been lying from the start.

American Samoa. DS Apelu Soifua investigates, he considerably more methodical than his colleagues. With such intimate knowledge of the island and its people, will he home in on the truth - or perish in the hands of villains increasingly desperate...?

The publicity blurb attracted, especially that comparison with Alexander McCall Smith. Sadly, though, this particular Samoan island does does emerge with the warmth and charm of McCall Smith's Botswana. In fact we are presented with much that depresses. It seems "progress" has polluted in every way, the mixture of cultures of benefit to none. Effluence from the cannery has destroyed the reef, any surviving fish not fit to eat. Rubbish is rife. Packs of dogs roam. The morgue is overcrowded, funerals having become show-off occasions requiring elaborate preparation.

Everything described here seems so downbeat, except for the singing. ("Theirs was a collective ear that sought harmonies.")

Soifua, though basically a good man, should appeal rather more than he does. In fact it is hard to care for anyone really. The murder mystery itself barely intrigues, its climax not really convincing. A fault lies with the way the story unfolds, too often everything making way for background information. There is generally a need to lighten up.

Hopes began high, but steadily eroded. At no time did I feel involved, particularly interested in the characters or in what was happening. My fault no doubt, but that is how it is.

Many fellow reviewers have enthused. I regret not being one of them. Clearly here is a work that divides opinion, perhaps to be source of enjoyable discussions/arguments in book groups.
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