Pago Pago Tango
An Apelu Soifua, Jungle Beat Mystery by John Enright
Review: After serving seven years as a police officer in San Francisco, Apelu Soifua has returned to American Samoa, the island of his birth. But he quickly finds out that keeping the peace in San Francisco is far different than doing so in his homeland in Pago Pago Tango, the first mystery in this series by John Enright.
His work as an SFPD officer was largely impersonal and detached; here it is anything but. His standard workwear of aloha shirt and jeans and a pair of black running shoes — and sometimes not even those — did not afford the opportunity to carry a weapon … which was not expected anyway. Still, he's a bit apprehensive when he's called to the home of Gordon Trurich, an executive with the Sea King Tuna Company, the second largest — after the government — employer on the island of American Samoa. Trurich lived in Tafuna Plain, the area preferred by the majority of the Americans who lived there. Stolen from the Trurich home were a videotape recorder, a collection of videotapes, a small amount of cash, everything from a single cabinet, and … a handgun that was used in a gangland killing. Of course, Trurich neglected to mention the latter item on Soifua's visit, but this odd assortment of stolen items leads him into the dark depths of lies, drugs, secret codes, and murder.
Pago Pago Tango provides a good introduction to the character of Apelu Soifua, a down-to-earth, practical police officer. The island setting is a terrific backdrop for the story, one that has Soifua bridging the cultural chasm between the local population and the American community, using diplomacy and tact with both … and with very mixed results. Indeed, the situation he often finds himself in often seems worse after his involvement than before he started! Though the mystery itself isn't terribly demanding — or even all that exciting — this is a solid series debut with a good balance between plot and character introduction.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Pago Pago Tango.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided a copy of Pago Pago Tango for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Pago Pago Tango: Pago Pago, American Samoa
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Pago Pago Tango by John Enright — An Apelu Soifua, Jungle Beat Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 2012
List Price: $14.95