When Captain Henry Koskela is unjustly accused of murder, only his ship's engineer, the gorilla Sally Jones, believes that he is innocent. She saw the whole thing! She saw the man pull a gun on Henry. She saw Henry chase the man down the pier. She saw the man slip and fall into the water. It was an accident.
But, she can't tell anyone. Gorillas can not talk. And the police search for her, as well, in order to put her in a zoo.
Sally Jones finds a friend in Ana, and a job with Ana's landlord, who builds and repairs musical instruments. As the Chief, as Sally Jones refers to Henry in this account, sits in jail, Sally Jones tries to find proof of his innocence.
Here are five things I like about this book:
1. Accordions - mostly button variety, but there is one fabulous piano accordion in this book.
2. The settings: Lisbon, Portugal is where a lot of the action takes place. A Maharajah's palace in India also sees a lot of action. Let's not forget the ship that takes Sally Jones from Lisbon to India. Although dates are not mentioned, the time period seems to be in the 1910s or 1920s, not long after the end of the Portuguese monarchy.
4. Sally Jones. She is not a human in a gorilla's body. Her thought processes seem to be different, more meticulous, perhaps. That makes her an excellent ship's engineer. Her heightened senses and her attention to detail save her more than once.
5. The intrigue: Why did the young man hire Koskela and Sally Jones to pick up four crates of "tiles"? Who was the laughing man known as Papa Monforte? How are the police involved? Will the Chief ever be freed?
I do have questions. What happened to Ana's secret admirer? What is next for Sally Jones? Will she head back to sea? Could we have another adventure, please?