A maverick police sergeant meets his match in a single-minded American nun.
In the Solomon Islands of the 1960s, young Sister Conchita realizes that she may be in over her head only when she's paddling, seemingly for dear life, in a dugout canoe as waves crash over her. This brush with death doesn't prevent her from standing up to coarse Australian plantation manager John Deacon when he tries to intimidate her. Not far away, rugged police sergeant Ben Kella has a similar showdown with a tribal magic man who's trying to interfere with a murder investigation. Kella's status is unique; a native of the Lau people, he has the rare tribal authority of the aofia, or peacekeeper, a responsibility that's sometimes hard to balance with his more bureaucratic law-enforcement duties. As Kella is a headache to Chief Superintendent Grice, his boss on the Australian mainland, so Sister Conchita is more than a handful for local supervisor Father Pierre. So when Kella is tasked to find the missing anthropologist Professor Mallory, is it any wonder that he tangles with the righteous nun, or that she noses her way into the investigation? Are two bulls in a china shop better than one?
The fiction debut of prolific Kent (The Little Book of Boxing, 2010, etc.) is also a series debut. The mystery takes a back seat to his knowledge of the exotic location and the combustible chemistry of his protagonists (the oddest couple since The African Queen), which add immensely to his story's charm.