Book Review: The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Weiglus

“I was thinking about my Underwood No. 5 while doing it, and now I’ve decided what I’m going to use it for. I am going to tell the truth. The truth about the murder of Alphonse Morro.”


Click here for the book information on Goodreads.

Sally Jones is a gorilla. She works at sea with Chief Henry Koskela on his boat, the Hudson Queen. Early in the book they find themselves in a difficult situation, a man dies and the Chief is arrested for murder. Sally flees. She is terrified for herself and her friend and sets out to prove his innocence.

I went into this book with some trepidation. It is a big book for one that was marketed as Middle Grade (and having finished I’m really not sure it is Middle Grade at all). It is also historical fiction which isn’t usually my jam at all. But I picked it up when a bookseller whose opinion I trust told me it was a great read, and then read it when Rachael recommended it and put it on my TBR for March. I fell for it hard, and loved every word.

Sally has a unique and brilliant voice; she is clear from the start that she isn’t human and that she finds some human customs strange. Sally doesn’t speak, but she observes a lot, she works hard, she is clever and resourceful and this makes for a great story .

The Murderer’s Ape is a brilliantly told, clever story which is perfectly paced. This is a complicated story with many elements, but they all work well together. It hooked me in from the first pages and never let up. It is a tense page-turner with some brilliant twists, you have no idea what Sally will get herself into next, but you definitely want to go along for the ride. Her adventure takes her to some amazing places, and she meets some amazing characters. The Maharajah was a personal favourite; he can be both highly unpleasant and outstandingly kind, and although he is there for a relatively small part in the story, his character development in that time is brilliant. There are betrayals and awful goings on as well as some great experiences, but no matter what else happens for Sally, she never let’s go of her loyalty to the Chief, and I loved this about her.

The Murderer’s Ape is a gorgeous story of adventure, friendship and loyalty against the backdrop of a murder mystery. It is one of the most unique stories I have read, and I would definitely recommend it. Even if you think it’s not your thing, give it a go; it might surprise you as much as it did me.


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