The Murderer's Ape

Wegelius, Jakob
Wegelius, Jakob
Swedish title
Mördarens apa
Sally Jones
Children \ Fiction 12-15
Pub Date
Apr 16, 2014
550 pages, 42 x 183 mm, b/w illustrations
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    "[The Murderer's Ape] feels charmingly antiquated thanks to its setting and the story’s accompanying intricate black-and-white drawings. Despite or perhaps because of this, it has everything that a good book needs: a captivating plot, masterfully presented. With his great enthusiasm for storytelling, Jakob Wegelius creates a detective-adventure novel featuring original characters and a gradually building level of suspense.“ White Raven 2015

    "... An existential thriller. /…/ "It will be a five out of five. It is a great book!" Yukiko Duke, Swedish National Television show Gomorron

    "The many different characters are well depicted and interesting the surroundings breath of color and scents, and the short chapters provide a fluent drive to the exciting story. The Murderer’s Ape is a powerful story about faithfulness and friendship with a touch of old-fashioned adventure story. Suitable for both devourers of books and those who want to enjoy a great read-aloud book! "
    Svante Ors, Swedish Library Service

    "Once more, Jakob Wegelius demonstrates his assured ability to tell a tale and his high class illustration art. /.../ In The Murderer’s Ape there are links to the classic detective story, to adventure stories and yesteryear’s salty stories from the sea. Wegelius has written and illustrated a book for all ages, ideal for reading aloud.” Lena Kåreland, Svenska Dagbladet

    "The book is really exciting, and vividly written. It's hard to stop reading and you feel with the characters. A masterpiece." Kamratposten (Magazine for children), The Book Panel gives the book 5 out of 5.

    "... This is a book for all ages, open and accessible, being exceptionally beautiful. A scent of ancient times and complex contexts become alive and tangible, and Jakob Wegelius shows his mastery, as both as an author and as an illustrator." Magnus Haglund, Göteborgs-Posten

    "If there was any justice Jakob Wegelius’ illustrated adventure books should receive huge movie contracts in Hollywood. Immediately! His epic 'The Legend of Sally Jones' (2008) and the independent follow-up 'The Murderer’s Ape', are just right in these times of Tintin, because they are like adventure stories used to be like, with the virtuous sailors, a slowly evolving detective plot, maps and fine-grained illustrations drawn by the author himself. " Hanna Höglund, GT

    "... A swirling, breathtaking, exciting and sometimes very funny story ... / ... / Wegelius’ artistically detailed illustrations in black and white is just right for the imagination in this book full of mystery, adventure and sadness." Anna Hedelius, Oskarshamn-magazine

    "It is an exciting, entertaining, nail biting, mysterious and sometimes sad story. /.../ An adventure story of classic cut, as timeless as limitless, and quite amazingly beautiful pictures.” Patrik Svensson, Sydsvenskan



Jakob Wegelius’ new book is an intriguing and meandering story about a puzzling murder case. The tale moves from the nocturnal harbour quarters of Lisbon, across the oceans to the mysteries of an Indian maharaja's court. It is a story of dark secrets and heinous crimes, but also of an unexpected friendship, hope and forgiveness. The Murderer’s Ape is a stand-alone title but also a continuation of The Legend of Sally Jones from 2008. The story teller is the gorilla Sally Jones, engineer on board the small cargo boat Hudson Queen. She and her friend, a sailor called the Chief are stranded in Lisbon where they were tricked into a smuggling deal which ended badly. The Hudson Queen sinks and the Chief is falsely convicted of the murder of the shadowy Alphonse Morro. For Sally Jones this is the start of a long and difficult battle both for her own survival and for exonerating her friend the Chief. She has powerful forces working against her, powers that would do anything to protect the secrets that Morro took with him when he disappeared in the swirling black waters of the River Tejos. This remarkable story is richly illustrated with fantastic and imaginative black and white drawings, all executed with finely detailed precision.

The Murderer's Ape is a White Raven 2015, i.e. it has been selected for their annual catalogue of book recommendations in the field of international children’s and youth literature. This year’s White Ravens catalogue contains 200 titles in 36 languages from 55 countries. It has been awarded the prestigious August Prize in 2014 and received The Nordic Council Children, Young People's Literature Prize 2015 and the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis for best children's book 2017.

"Hard to summarize, but internationally applauded (not least by Philip Pullman), is the evocative The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius (..). A panoramic story of more than 600 pages, it is narrated by a gorilla who is a skilled engineer called Sally Jones. Both original and old-fashioned in its storytelling, it involves a murder investigation, a journey from Lisbon to India between the wars, intrigue and suspense. Sumptuous black-and-white illustrations show the main characters, while chapter headings conjure up scenes like little stage sets. A story to lose yourself in, with a theme of loyalty and empathy". the Sunday Times, December 2017.