2013-01-31 / News

Islander publishes mystery novel, poetry collection

Jamestown resident John Enright has recently published back to back books – one a mystery novel and the other a collection of poetry.

In “Pago Pago Tango,” Enright draws upon his personal experiences for the setting of this intriguing detective story, which is the first in a series.

At the same time, Enright has published his latest collection of poems, “14 Degrees South.” The poetry collection was the winner of the University of the South Pacific press prize for poetry in 2011 and was finally published in late 2012.

Enright’s poetry collection has been called “the lyrical song of Somoa in ways unmatched by anyone, anytime in the history of those islands ... crafted by the hand of a master.”

Mysteries abound in “Pago Pago Tango.” Detective Sergeant Apelu Soifua is a soft-spoken Samoan who follows a tangled evidence trail while walking a tightrope between the Samoan culture and the overbearing American way of life. Of course, sitting at the heart of paradise is an ugly truth that Soifua must uncover. He’s got experience as a big city detective with the San Francisco Police Department before he returned home.

Enright does an excellent job of sharing the uniqueness of the Samoan culture while telling a lively tale. Enright said he chose to write a mystery novel because, “I wanted to write about Samoa, but I also wanted to make it entertaining enough so that people would read it.” The book is published by Thomas & Mercer.

The writer lived for 26 years in the islands of the South Pacific where he taught community college and then worked as an offi cer in the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office. In the meanwhile, his essays, articles, short stories and poems have appeared in more than 70 books, ant hologies, journals, periodicals and online magazines. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., the 67-yearold Enright played semipro baseball and worked in the Lackawanna steel mills as a young man. He later earned a degree at City College while working full time at Fortune, Time and Newsweek magazines. A master’s degree in folklore at UC-Berkley followed.

Enright is currently at work editing his second book in the mystery series. He is also planning another book outside of the South Pacific mystery series, this one is set in New England.

When working, Enright said, he likes to produce about 3,000 words a week. “I feel good” when writing, he commented. “I have my invisible friends. They determine where they want to go.”

In these days of computers and keyboards, Enright often writes in a notebook in longhand. He does admit to using a computer at times, though.

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