Sally Jones is an ape. She was captured years before and lived through many trials before the story opens. She is highly intelligent and quite mechanically gifted. Sally does not communicate vocally but can write and this story is her memoir that opens after she was saved by Captain Koskela. Koskela and Sally sailed the seas, picking up cargo and delivering to ports around the world. It was a happy and contented life, until they accepted a suspicious job that led to the sinking of their beloved ship and the imprisonment of Koskela in Lisbon for murder. Alone in Lisbon, Sally is miserable and hides until she is befriended by Ana who has a beautiful and captivating singing voice. The people that Sally meets during her journeys are building blocks to clear Koskela of his wrong conviction.
Each character that Sally meets is meticulously fletched out with a back story that adds to Sally’s adventures. From the Maharadjan in Bhapur to the gentle accordion maker to troubled Alphonse Morro. But it is Sally – her pure heart, her strong work ethic, her loyalty – Sally is the star. She never gives up, she thinks and thinks until she has figured out a plan. Except for those that are truly evil, Sally brings out the best in those around her. I wish I had a Sally in my life. The author also illustrates in beautiful detail, charming pictures that enhance the story. It is a rather long book because Sally has amazing travels, fraught with danger, hardships, and delights and I wanted even more. Originally published in Sweden, this book has already won awards in Europe. The translation by Peter Graves is exceedingly well done so that the writing flows naturally. The Murderer’s Ape is one of a kind and should win accolades in the States. I am eager for the publisher to buy the rights to more from the author. Highly recommend!
eGalley review Publication date 1.24.17