Norwegian Wood, where I could imagine snow. What I needed after that, was somewhere where there was 28C temp and 85% humidity like Singapore. This book filled it. So what about it?
This book had 1 major error that I had problems getting past. It just SCREAMED(!) outsider (it was written by a Brit who had lived in the Solomons). All these intelligent islanders, were sent to Australia for an education. If, and I understand they were in the 60s, they had the unfortunate experience of drinking XXXX, they would know to spell it XXXX. As an Aussie, you spell it XXXX.
Not, definitely not, 4X.
The whole joke is "Why is spelt XXXX? Because Queenslanders can't spell Beer!".
So with all that aside. Murder mystery. Traditional culture vs colonial culture clash. Hiking around the bush in the heat and the humidity. The fact that there were too many fallible characters that any one of them could be the killer. Grumpy, precocious nun.
You like the main character Ben Kella. He is straddling a world that is drastically changing, which he knows and has to balance them both. He is the traditional peace keeper of his traditional culture, yet a policeman of the new world order. You respect him and empathise with him.
Same with Nun-face (yes I called her nun-face. I call everyone whats-his-face if I don't know their name and I have no idea how to pronounce the rest of her South American name, so nun-face will have to do). You respect her for what she is doing and where she is. Also, as much of me resents it, in the 1960s it was probably the most amount of independence she was going to get (as a woman, to become a nun and end up in the Pacific).
Best read ever? No. But fun read? Yes. Nice murder mystery? Yes. Nice Pacific Island read? Yup. Read it. It gives you perspective, and education (it comes with a map inside! Bonus!) and I think shines light on a place that hasn't got that much light shining on it (what is it with the lack of Pacific fiction? Seriously?). 4 stars.
Next: Denmark with Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow