Murder in the Pacific: Ifira Point by Matt Francis is an interesting mystery with a strong sense of place.
Sergeant George Long of the Vanuatu Police begins his working day listening to the local news. That’s how he finds out that 12-year-old Esther Paul has been reported missing. Although he looks into it, his initial assumption is that she’s with a friend or relative. It’s not uncommon.
However, two days later her body is found. It’s not clear whether it was an accident or murder, but the circumstances suggest murder. George and his assistant, Constable Jayline Oli, begin investigating with more fervour.
The novel is told from George’s viewpoint, meaning that he’s the character we get to know best. Although it builds up gradually, it’s a strong depiction of someone who enjoys where he lives but is aware of its shortcomings and problems.
He knows, for example, that a murder would be investigated very differently in countries with more resources. For the reader, this means the crime is largely investigated through talking rather than forensics. As a result, we also see a good deal of Vanuatu’s culture and community. This is an interesting insight into a culture that works quite differently from Australia’s. For a start, most of us would not take the idea of corruption or wasted government funds quite so much in our stride.
There is a very strong sense of place in the novel. Vanuatu and its people are vividly depicted. Their way of life is a vital part of the investigation and adds life and colour.
I felt that characters other than George were generally very lightly developed. Perhaps only Jayline fully comes to life. However, the light sketches other characters get are quite effective and work well with this relatively straightforward plot and story.
For most readers, this will be an enjoyable read which gives them an insight into Vanuatu and its’ people along with a murder mystery and some appealing characters.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Murder in the Pacific: Ifira Point by Matt Francis. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember, and I love sharing that joy.
I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, across all genres. There’s not much I won’t at least try. I’ve been an enthusiastic book reviewer for years. I particularly enjoy discovering writers new to me, and sharing good writing with others.
My career has included time spent writing and editing technical documents, but it’s fiction that really moves me. I’ve reviewed for a number of different outlets over the years, and have been a judge in literary competitions.
I’m now raising little bookworms of my own, which brings a whole new kind of joy to sharing books.
More of my reviews can be found on my review blog www.otherdreamsotherlives.home.blog .