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Pago Pago Tango (Jungle Beat Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews

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Length: 263 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Detective Sergeant Apelu Soifua of the American Samoa PD is called to a palangi (Caucasian) enclave to check on a burglary at the home of a vice president of the island’s largest industry, a tuna cannery. A VCR and some videotapes have been stolen; the VP dismisses the theft as unimportant, but the man’s shrewish wife and flirtatious twentysomething daughter tell different stories, and Apelu finds himself in a murky case that might be routine—or might be deadly. Apelu faces many obstacles, not least the fact that the police force is a “palangi invention.” Prior to the Americans’ arrival, villages policed themselves, and chiefs meted out justice. Enright’s portrait of cultural collision is the heart of this engaging series debut. The insights into Samoan society, culture, and history at first seem like interesting digressions, but they ultimately become integral to understanding Apelu’s approach to the case. Fans of crime in exotic settings will likely enjoy this one. — Thomas Gaughan

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 747 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (October 23, 2012)
  • Publication Date: October 23, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007VPZOXK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,434 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More 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 of New York 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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I had the rare good fortune to have a job that allowed me to get to know the terrritory of American Samoa, the only flag-flying part of the United States south of the equator. I visited the territory twice and was impressed by the beauty of the islands and by the strong American patriotism of the people. American Samoa has a unique relationship with the United States which allows its inhabitants to practice the Fa'a Samoa, or the traditional Samoan way of life. Samoa presents a challenging mixture of local and American values.

The fond memories I have of American Samoa led me to this new book, "Pago Pago Tango" by John Enright. [Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa is pronounced "Pango Pango"]. Enright is a mainland American who lived in Samoa and taught at the American Samoa Community College (which I visited) for many years before returning to the United States.

It was a pleasure to visit American Samoa again in this book with Enright as a guide. I recognized the places he describes --the government buildings, the American Samoa National Park with its rickety cable car which somehow I found the nerve to ride, the hotel, the cannery, the airport, the LBJ Hospital, the local jail and its culture, the small local shops and restaurants, and more. It was recollection for me while it will be a new world for most American readers.

Enright has written a complex involved mystery centring upon a Samoan detective, Apelu Soifua. Pelu, as he is called, spent much of his childhood in San Francisco followed by seven years as a detective on its police force before returning to his native island. Pelu's life and detective work shows the tension between mainland and Samoan culture, a tension mirrored in American Samoa itself.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This murder mystery, set on American Samoa, is as much a Samoan cultural study as a crime story. Pago Pago Tango is a quiet little book that unfolds slowly, matching the pace of life on a tropical island.

The mystery itself is quite simple - I figured it out well before the final pages. But, the insights into Samoan culture and the likable characters kept me interested and engaged in the story until the end. Pago Pago Tango introduces us to Detective Sergeant Apelu Soifua, but to me, he remains a bit of a mystery, even at the end of the book. This is not a bad thing; I'm looking forward to seeing his character develop through future books.

If you like your mysteries filled with non-stop action, gunfights, and wild chases, this book is not for you. But, if you want to try a low-key story with interesting characters and an exotic locale, I recommend Pago Pago Tango.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a native Samoan and a member of the local government, the book held a lot of personal appeal for me on many fronts. Perhaps any critique i would add would only be construed as partial, but i did want to note the inaccuracy of the author's use of what is essentially Hawaiian-creole pidgin to represent the colloquial speech of the Samoan locals and the book's protagonist within the story. Samoans most definitely do not speak with said Hawaiian-based slang (use of the terms `poke,' `kahuna', and 'brah' among others)and most would find it insulting even to suggest it. Enright has lived among us long enough to comprehend such reservations exist. Still, it's but a minor complaint and doesn't certainly rob the book's story of it's narrative. All in all, a solid and quick read that paints a part of American Samoa's more livelier corners. Malo lava le taumafai!
2 Comments 39 of 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is set in American Samoa, with a Samoan police detective (Apelu, AKA Pelu) as the central character. The author spent many years in the Pacific and apparently has first hand knowledge of life in American Samoa and the characteristics of the Samoan people and culture. I greatly enjoyed being able to experience that culture - life in American Samoa - through this book. I did not give the book five stars because the book is somewhat less successful as a mystery. The pace was a bit slow, the emphasis was on characters and island life, and it was fairly obvious to me who Pelu should have been keeping an eye on but was not.

The story involves a family of American expats (father Gordon Trurich is an executive at the tuna-canning factory; Debbie, his young adult daughter, who is fitting in fairly well; and his second wife, Karen, who hates living in Samoa and uses various substances to ease the burden). The wife reports a burglary at their house in which a collection of videos was stolen. Apelo, a Samoan who spent most of his life in California, including a number of years in the San Francisco Police Department, is sent to investigate. Gordon does not seem all that concerned and is even evasive. Apelo has enough time on his hands to follow up on his suspicions that there's something unusual about this burglary. In the meantime, Apelo is tangentially involved in a couple of murder investigations and wonders if there's a connection between this burglary and these crimes. The pace picks up considerably in the final chapters, with a confrontation and a night-time chase.

For me, the best part of the book was reading about Samoa and life in American Samoa. As noted, the mystery unfolds fairly slowly, with plenty of descriptions of people, settings, and the culture.
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