BOOK CLUB: Murder in the Pacific: Mt Yasur

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“Murder in the Pacific: Mt Yasur” reintroduces us to Sergeant George Long and the challenges of policing in the Pacific Islands. Author Matt Francis shows a deep understanding of the area, and provides an unusual crime novel that reflects the realities of the area.

George has travelled to Tanna Island for the wedding of Constable Jayline Oli. Both were introduced in “Murder in the Pacific: Ifira Point”. Continuing readers will appreciate the relationship between the two, and the deepening understanding we have of George in particular.

George has been looking forward to both the wedding and a holiday, so he’s dismayed when his boss calls and assigns him to investigate the murder of Hu Lee, the leader of a Chinese aid agency. George’s two main qualifications are that he is already on the island and that he’s an outsider (from Vila).

Jayline, as his offsider, is soon enlisted as well. Juggling wedding preparations with a murder investigation is not an everyday task, but if anyone can rise to the occasion, it’s Jayline. George, however, is floundering a little. His mixed heritage is not an advantage in this investigation; there’s a multitude of suspects, but unfortunately, some are Jayline’s family; and the Chinese Embassy is taking an uncomfortable interest in proceedings.

As with the earlier novel, Francis highlights the challenges of policing in this region. In particular, there’s virtually nothing in the way of forensics to assist. George must rely on questioning, his intelligence, and such evidence as he can find without any technology.

George himself dwells less on the lacks in his investigation than in the first novel and uses what he has to best effect. George’s personality seems oddly unsuited to investigation – he’s not a very curious person, and doesn’t engage easily with others – but he’s nevertheless very effective. Readers are likely to find themselves ruminating along with him.

The landscape, community ties and customs, and history of this region are all important to the novel. Francis weaves these into the story, conveying a lot of information through George’s musings. At the end, I felt that I’d learned quite a bit, although I never felt lectured.

Francis seems a little more comfortable in this novel, injecting some explicit humour into the story. His writing style is undemanding and largely good-humoured, reflecting to some extent George’s personality.

Readers who enjoyed the first novel will similarly enjoy this one. It advances the relationships established in the first — while providing a new and interesting plot and setting. New readers should have no problems following the plot or appreciating the setting, and the relationships are easy enough to understand as well.

While not the twistiest mystery I’ve ever read, this is a solid crime novel with a unique setting and distinctive characters. Most crime readers will enjoy it a lot.

You may also like Murder in the Pacific: Ifira Point

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading “Murder in the Pacific: Mt Yasur” by Matt Francis. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Murder in the Pacific: Mt Yasur

  1. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Murder In The Pacific Mt Yasur by Matt Francis.

    George and his partner Jayline are back to solving murders together, the only difference is it’s just before Jayline’s wedding and some of her relatives are murder suspects!!

    This is a great murder mystery with a touch of humour.

    An easy read and a great story.

    Highly recommend ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  2. Matt Francis did a great job with this book. It flowed very well and was easy to read because of that. I was surprised how fast I got through it, but the flow of the book really helped it.

    I am not a massive crime reader, but I enjoy Matt’s writing, and how his books give you a insight into the culture, the people, the land, while still going through the journey of solving a crime.

    There were some great points in this book when it comes to racism, gentrification, foreign aid. It really made me think about how it all compares in the real world.

    The only thing I felt this book lacked compared to the first book was book 1 had some humour in the beginning, I felt it gave the book a good entry point and felt light hearted in places where it could be. So this one had a different tone, but still great to read

    I would like to thank Beauty and Lace magazine for giving me the opportunity to read this book

  3. Having read the first Murder In The Pacific book I knew exactly what to expect. Although this is the second book it easily can be read as a stand alone. I did like having the insight into the characters beforehand though.

    Easy to read and follow.

    George finds himself looking for a murderer while on holidays to attend his police partners wedding on Tanna Island. He discovers the victim, Hu Lee, the leader of an aid agency was not what he seemed. George had many possible suspects in his investigation.

    I enjoyed this book and read it quickly to see how it would end.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Big Sky Publishing for my copy to read and review.

  4. I found the facts about Vanuatu and learning about the culture kept me interested. I agree with the other reviewers that it is a quick and easy read. However, George, the police officer, seemed pretty useless and the ending was disappointing and unsatisfying.

  5. I absolutely loved Murder in the Pacific Bk 1: Ifira Point, so was delighted to read Bk 2: Mt Yasur. You can tell Matt Francis loves Vanuatu, it shines through in the writing. There’s not as much humour in this book – which I truly loved in Bk 1 – but it still read so well. I loved exploring the concept of foreign aid in Vanuatu, and how different it was when provided by the Australians VS by the Chinese – so much cultural difference there, which was food for thought. The ‘character’ of the volcano Mr Yasur was also very strong; quite the drawcard for the (newish) annual race up the mountain on Tanna Island, and for sightseers. Especially at night with the dramatic rumbles beneath the feet and then the eruptions of lava shooting into the sky. Sounds spectacular. The same two main police are here from Bk 1: Sergeant George Long and Constable Jayline Oli. They make a good pair, even though they’re supposed to be on holidays for Jayline’s wedding. The race is on to solve a murder – a Chinese aid worker stabbed through the heart in his truck at the bottom of Mr Yasur in broad daylight – before Jayline’s big day! There’s all sorts of politics flying around here: the locals look after their own on the island so they’re not as helpful as they might be with George and Jayline, and international politics with the Chinese becomes quite an issue. I loved the way George quietly goes about his work, trying not to upset or interrupt Jayline from her wedding preparations, although I think it’s sort of a relief for her to get away from wedding politics to assist George. The ending is unusual, maybe not as satisfying as Bk 1, and definitely not what I was expecting. But it works.
    Thankyou Beauty & Lace and Big Sky Publishing for the chance to read and review this book! I hope Matt Francis keeps writing this series, I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

  6. Sergent George Long was looking forward to some downtime and perhaps a visit to the volcano at Mt Yasur prior to attending his colleague and friend, Constable Jayline Oli’s, wedding. In a culture where international politics and influences is in contrast to the locals wanting their country as their own, it comes at no surprise that when a Chinese national is murdered in broad daylight the powers that be, in their political and legal positions, decide George is there and the best man, highest ranked, to find closure to this crime.
    A small community, many of the suspects are linked to each other, even the family into which Jayline is about to marry. Having her help in the case, George finds he need tread lightly so as not to lose a friend and create an upset before the wedding day. Angst in the community is palpable with conflict is identified between the Chinese “aid worker” and the role he has been taking with the people.
    Can George find the answers, get to the bottom of the crime, not have to arrest Jayline’s to be family and all the while working through his own romantic conflicts.
    Steamy climate both in the story line and the setting. I thoroughly enjoyed the second of the “Murder in the Pacific” books and look forward to more that may come. Thank you Beauty & Lace, Big Sky Publishing and author Matt Francis for the chance to read this book.

  7. Matt Francis’ Murder in the Pacific: Mount Yasur is an easy read set in the magnificent islands of Vanuatu. I loved the geography, history and culture which came through in the story. I haven’t read the first book in this series, Ifira Point, but it didn’t seem to matter too much, although I suspect the characters may have a little more depth having read the first round of adventures also. I will seek that one out, also as the use of humour appeals to me. Mount Yasur dealt with several heavy topics in a thought provoking and sensitive way and I found the pace of the story spot on. All in all a good read. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review Matt Francis’ Murder in the Pacific: Mount Yasur!

  8. Murder in the Pacific: Mt Yasur is the second novel by author Matt Francis. A light and entertaining who-done-it set on Vanuatu’s Tanna Island, this novel was easy to read and engaging. The author’s writing style is very descriptive which made it easy for me to imagine myself in the setting on Tanna Island, and brought the main characters to life.

    Sergeant George Long had only just arrived on Tanna Island from Vila and was looking forward to the wedding of his co-worker Constable Jayline Oli and some time off work. This was short lived however when the head of an aid agency on the island, Hu Lee, was stabbed to death during a tsunami evacuation drill; and George was unwillingly thrust into becoming the lead investigator by his superiors.

    As a likely motive for the murder unfolded, the list of potential suspects increased and George and his partner Jayline had to navigate a range of obstacles including Georges own mixed heritage, the unexpected presence of a Chinese embassy official and worrying possibility of family involvement. Interest was added with various backstories running alongside the investigation, Jayline’s wedding being called off and George’s own personal insecurities regarding his relationship with girlfriend Veronique, but all was resolved in the end.

    I really enjoyed this book, the writing style which was very easy to read and the descriptive setting including up to the summit of active volcano, Mt Yasur.

    Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Big Sky Publishing, for the opportunity to read and review Murder in the Pacific : Mt Yasur, which I would highly recommend for anyone who enjoys a good, easy to read, murder mystery.

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