Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Murdered Aboriginal Chief in London

The Kus are a tribe displaced from their native jungle during WWII and relocated to a large house in London. Although they are living in London and the younger members are beginning to assimilate into the new culture, the tribe has retained many of their aboriginal customs.

Aaron, the chief, has been murdered. Since the house is locked up at night, it looks as though one of the Kus committed the murder. When Detective Superintendent Pibble gets the case, he is surprised by the unusual nature of the community. The house has been modified to accommodate tribal customs. The women sleep in one large room, the women's hut. The men sleep and spend a great deal of time in a comparable room, the men's hut.

This unusual society exists by the largess of Dr. Ku, a Scottish anthropologist, who married into the tribe. She and her husband Paul, an artist and her former houseboy, are the most assimilated into the London world, but also strangely connected to tribal customs.

I enjoyed this novel. The characters from Dr. Ku to Robin, a second generation boy who straddles the two worlds, and Bob Caine, the next door neighbor who was selfishly responsible for the decimation of the tribe during WWII, are unusual and fascinating. The mystery keeps you guessing with clues suggesting that the murderer must be a Ku, but also pointing to an outsider.

I highly recommend this novel if you like a good mystery with unusual characters and imaginative background.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.