The Murderer's Ape
The Murderer's Ape

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Annotation: When her best friend, the sailor Henry Koskela, is falsely accused of murder, a gorilla named Sally Jones visits the run-down docks of Lisbon, embarks on a dizzying journey across the seven seas, and calls on the Maharaja of Bhapur's magnificent court--all in an attempt to clear Henry's name.
Catalog Number: #160062
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: xxv, 588 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-10-193175-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1071-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-10-193175-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1071-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016010508
Dimensions: 19 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Sally Jones, a gorilla who can read, write, and understand human speech, sails the sea with the Chief. When the Chief is charged with murder, Sally Jones tries to clear her friend's name. She's a sympathetic character, and readers will be content following her slow progress; the novel is more leisurely paced than dramatic but somehow highly satisfying. Chapter-heading vignettes follow the action.
Publishers Weekly
Sally Jones is a top-notch engineer, excels at chess, and exceeds expectations at every turn-that she is a gorilla may be the least interesting thing about her. Working aboard a cargo ship, the Hudson Queen, with her dear friend Chief, Sally Jones is content and safe, but when a job goes awry, Chief lands in prison for murder and only Sally Jones knows he is innocent. Determined to clear his name, the indomitable gorilla forges unexpected friendships, travels countless miles, and barely survives death on numerous occasions. Meticulous black-and-white character illustrations introduce key players at the novel-s start, and spot illustrations adorn the heading of each chapter, offer tempting glimpses of what awaits. Originally published in Sweden and ostensibly typed out by the gorilla on a typewriter, Wegelius-s story is a thrilling adventure, but it-s Sally Jones-s devotion to her friends and poignant observations that set it apart (-Poor Chief,- she thinks after his arrest. -The accident wasn-t his fault, but he would never forgive himself, I knew that-). Prepare to meet the remarkable Sally Jones; you won-t soon forget her. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)

School Library Journal
Gr 4&11;8&12; An engagingly accessible but quirky mystery featuring a gorilla named Sally Jones who not only narrates the story but can also read and write. She just doesn't talk. Sally Jones is an engineer working for Chief Koskela on his ship, the Hudson Queen , in this suspenseful and well-plotted adventure. In Lisbon, Portugal, while carrying what they think is a crate of tiles, Sally Jones and the Chief are attacked by robbers, and the ship is sunk. Things go from bad to worse when the Chief is shortly thereafter arrested for the murder of the man who hired them to transport the cargo. Sally Jones is on her own, decried by passersby as "the murderer's gorilla." Attracted to the music of a factory worker named Ana Molina, Sally Jones forges a new life but is determined to prove the Chief's innocence. It's her ability to work mechanical miracles&12;even with accordions&12;and her hard work ethic that help her find friends who support her on her quest for answers. A circuitous journey leads her to India and a completely fabulous maharaja. All events occur in the early part of the 20th century, when cars, planes, and typewriters were newfangled inventions. The book has been translated from Swedish and contains a series of portraits of the main cast of characters filling the opening pages, and there is surprisingly little to deter readers from immediately falling for Sally Jones and eagerly cheering her on. There are moments that are a little over-the-top or stereotypical, such as the abilities of the ape, the maharaja's wealth, and Ana's captivating voice. A new animal heroine has arrived on the scene, and while she may not rival Charlotte for her wisdom, her writing is just as engaging and her persistent loyalty equally admirable. VERDICT An unusual and oddly charming adventure. A solid purchase for medium to large middle grade collections.&12; Carol A. Edwards, formerly at Denver Public Library
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
When her friend and partner, the sailor Henry Koskela, is wrongfully imprisoned for murder, Sally Jones works for years to free him. The ape Sally Jones, who can understand speech, respond with nods, write slowly, and play chess, tells her tale by typing on an old Underwood typewriter. It’s the tale of the murder of Alphonse Morro, but it’s far from simple. When Koskela goes to prison for killing Morro (whose body’s not found) after Morro lied to Koskela about the cargo he and Sally Jones were to transport (guns—not roofing tiles), Sally Jones eventually finds a safe place to stay with singer Ana Molina and her musical-instrument–repairing landlord, Luigi Fidardo. Thus begins a continent-spanning quest filled with betrayal and intrigue and engineering and music. Set in the very early years of the 20th century, Wegelius’ award-winning novel won Sweden’s August Prize for best novel for youth, as did his first book about Sally Jones, not yet published in the United States, and features a complex mystery, an intricately constructed narrative, and deep characters. It has enough adventures for a trilogy at least, but the pacing is slower than modern American adventure novels. Sally Jones is a compelling narrator, and the detailed illustrations by the author add much (and depict a largely white human cast). Short attention spans need not apply, but committed, careful readers will be richly rewarded. (Mystery. 10 & up)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Sally Jones is an engineer, a shipmate, a friend, and a gorilla. Though she understands English, she doesn't speak it, and many people assume she is just another animal. Sally Jones and her constant companion, Captain Henry Koskela (called the Chief), made many sea voyages until a stop in Lisbon results in the Chief being imprisoned for the murder of a man named Alphonse Morro. Alone and devastated by his loss, Sally Jones is taken in by Ana Molina, a young singer, and begins to piece together the events that led to the Chief's imprisonment. Determined to prove his innocence, Sally Jones begins a journey that will last several years and span multiple countries: from Lisbon, she travels as far as India in search of clues about the mysterious Alphonse Morro, who may not be dead after all. Though she meets many unsavory characters and is often threatened with zoos, her talent with machinery, resourcefulness, and enduring goodwill see her through. This story was originally published in Sweden to great critical acclaim, and numerous black-and-white drawings throughout add to its unusual appeal. For American readers, this will have a distinctly old-fashioned feel. While the sheer length and thoughtful pace of Sally Jones' journey might discourage some, those who persevere will have a richly imagined and thoroughly unique adventure in store.
Word Count: 112,794
Reading Level: 6.4
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.4 / points: 18.0 / quiz: 188263 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 870L

"This may be the most charming book I’ve read all year." --The New York Times

"I don’t know when I last read a book with such pure and unalloyed pleasure." --Philip Pullman, internationally bestselling author of The Golden Compass and The Book of Dust

Winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder award, this is a captivating story about dark truths and heinous crimes as well as unexpected friendships, with detailed black-and-white illustrations throughout. Perfect for fans of Brian Selznick and mystery and detective stories.

Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she’s an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja’s turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder.
For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief's name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets.

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