The killing of an American tourist in the Solomon Islands reunites the singular sleuthing duo from Devil-Devil (2011).
A brief, provocative prologue, set in 1943, describes a Japanese destroyer attacking an American craft, PT-109 to be specific. Nearly 20 years later, brusque young nun Sister Conchita has been challenged with running a dilapidated mission in the Western District, where the other nuns have settled into an amiable inertia. Intransigent Sisters are the least of her problems on the day someone sets the ceremonial bonfire alight hours ahead of schedule as a corpse lies atop it. Meanwhile, Sergeant Ben Kella of the Islands Police Force is sent west to investigate violence and sabotage at the Alvaro logging station. Though the area is unfamiliar to Kella, most of the workers there are from his native island of Malaita. While Kella is questioning the lusty Australian logging boss Michie, Sister Conchita, not far away, talks to former prizefighter Joe Dontate, whose chain of trading stores also sponsors mission tours. Given their proximity and common goals, it's not long before this combustible duo is back together. Sister Conchita is chagrined to see that the nuns who treat her with indifference fawn over Kella. She finds the evasive responses of the District Commissioner about the death highly suspicious. Sister Conchita appeals to Kella for help. Is there a link to John F. Kennedy, about to become President of the United States?
Kent could provide more detail about the workings and ambience of his exotic setting, but his two sleuths are compelling and refreshingly unique.