Palms, Paradise, Poison

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Pub Date 04 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021
Canongate Books, Severn House

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Description

Sea, storm, superstition . . . Constable Teddy Creque investigates a death with seemingly supernatural causes in this witty, atmospheric mystery set on a Caribbean island paradise.

Constable Teddy Creque, the sole police officer on the tiny, sun-soaked island of Anegada, is used to weathering storms. So when Hurricane Leatha hits the Caribbean with brutal force, his main concern is keeping the island’s two hundred residents safe.

Teddy expects the power to go out. He expects the phone lines to go down. But he doesn’t expect the radioed message from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force headquarters, informing him of a dangerous escaped prisoner. Queen Ya-Ya is a practitioner of ancient Afro-Cuban rites – and rumor has it she can kill with magic.

Teddy doesn’t believe in magic, and when he easily recaptures the dignified, imposing Queen Ya-Ya, he doesn’t believe his prisoner is dangerous either. But when she mysteriously kills a man from inside her locked cell, before vanishing once more into the night, Teddy is forced to reconsider . . .

This page-turning mystery from award-winning author John Keyse-Walker takes readers on an exciting journey from the storm-tossed British Virgin Islands to the heart of Cuba, and is a perfect pick for readers who like their mysteries international, atmospheric and adventurous.
Sea, storm, superstition . . . Constable Teddy Creque investigates a death with seemingly supernatural causes in this witty, atmospheric mystery set on a Caribbean island paradise.

Constable Teddy...

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Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780727850805
PRICE $28.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 8 members


Featured Reviews

This is the third book in John Keyse-Walker’s enjoyable Teddy Creque series, set on the fictional island of Anegada in the British Virgin Islands. Similar in tone and feel to the TV series Death in Paradise, Keyse-Walker’s main character is not an imported British superintendent, but an island born constable, risen to the top of the heap in tiny Anegada. He’s also a fisherman, and his community plays a huge part in the story.

While the first book in the series was a traditional police procedural story with the added zing of the Caribbean setting, this one is a stripped down wonder that embraces the setting completely. The book opens with a hurricane hitting the island (a sadly common occurrence in the Virgin Islands), and Teddy, while trying to evacuate the islanders to safety further inland, goes out to rescue a fellow fisherman who is out in one of the worst storms in island memory.

Combining the feel of the hurricane – I have never lived through one, but I now feel as though I have – with a daring and exciting rescue sequence, the book hits it out of the park from the start. When Teddy improbably gets his boat out to a missing one, he finds the skipper dead and a strange woman aboard. They make their way back to shore and the strange woman, a woman named Queen Ya-Ya, turns out to be an escaped prisoner.
Combining the best elements of both the adventure store and the quest – Teddy ends up following another lost boat as well as Queen Ya-Ya to Cuba (and the sequence of events that gets both of them there I leave to you, lucky reader, to discover for yourself). On top of these elements, he places the absolutely unforgettable character of Queen Ya-Ya, whose dastardly deeds are almost discovered by the reader in real time, just as Teddy himself discovers them.

The other major character is a Cuban detective, Luz, who practices the “good” version of Santeria, while Ya-Ya practices the more ominous side. Teddy’s unwillingness to believe either in Luz’s version of faith or in Ya Ya’s version gets him into some trouble and leaves the reader, in the end, wondering about what to believe themselves.

This was a skillfully told, suspenseful tale, saturated in atmosphere and setting, and full of the glories as well as the harsh realities of life in the Caribbean. Somehow living on a beach seems romantic, but you can still starve to death on a beach and Keyse-Walker illuminates that possibility. This is a beautifully vivid and hard to forget book.

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Home Turf Investigation…
Book three in the Teddy Creque mystery series finds the Constable with a new investigation on his Caribbean home turf. With much atmosphere, credible and often delightful but certainly enigmatic characters and a swift pen the author creates a wholly immersive, entertaining and intriguing mystery. A worthy addition to this enjoyable series.

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This is a fun tropical mystery. Constable Teddy Creque is a man of reality and facts, a good natured fellow who lives a low-key life. When a mysterious priestess who practices alleged "dark arts" enters his life he is skeptical, then suspicious... And finally very, very cautious.

I won't give up the plot. Suffice to say Constable Creque has to leave his beloved island and embark on an adventure full of mystery, intrigue, danger, and possibly black magic. This is a fun, fast moving story; because it drops the reader right into the action it took me a little bit to acclimate myself to what was going on but after the first few pages it was easy to get into the flow of it.

Palms, Paradise, Poison might offend readers who are extremely sensitive to language. There is one character who cusses a blue streak full of F-bombs but only appears a couple of times and each appearance is fairly brief. The language really exemplifies the nature of the character in a way that tends more towards startling than offensive. Full disclosure: Strong language rarely offends me at all so that's a consideration -- but really, I mention it just so it won't come as a total shock.

I liked this book a lot. I would recommend it to any reader who enjoys a more "lighthearted" mystery that is fun without being saccharine sweet. If you're at all familiar with the Denzel Washington movie The Mighty Quinn or the UK television series Death in Paradise then this book has that kind of sensibility to it.

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