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The Murderer's Ape

(Sally Jones #2)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,317 ratings  ·  440 reviews
'I don't know when I last read a book with such pure and unalloyed pleasure. It's ingenious, it's moving, it's charming, it's beautiful, it's exciting, and most importantly the characters are people I feel I know like old friends. I thank Jakob Wegelius wholeheartedly for giving me several hours of joy' -- Philip Pullman

Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she's an extr
Hardcover, 640 pages
Published September 7th 2017 by Pushkin Children's Books (first published April 16th 2014)
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Shala Howell It's a middle grade novel, so while it has 589 pages, the text is relatively large and the narration straightforward. I read it in a weekend. It's a c…moreIt's a middle grade novel, so while it has 589 pages, the text is relatively large and the narration straightforward. I read it in a weekend. It's a compelling story, which keeps you turning pages. Enjoy!(less)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  2,317 ratings  ·  440 reviews

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This took a while to read but not because it's dull or slow-paced but rather I enjoyed savouring it. When a rather gifted ape, Sally Jones, finds her dear friend framed for a crime he did not commit, she finds herself on the run from a secretive organisation whose intent is to bring disorder to its home country of Portugal.
Sally must country across the world to find the one person who can help set her dear friend free and her adventures take us to exotic places where we meet a rich, memorable c
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read about this one in the NY Times Book Review. Sounded interesting, and did not disappoint. Captain Henry Koskela (a/k/a Chief) and female gorilla Sally Jones are hired by Alfonse Morro to pick up some tiles along a river in their small cargo ship. Things go awry at the pickup, Alfonse Morro falls in the sea back at the port, and Chief is arrested for his murder. Sally Jones goes on the run, and subsequently enlists the help of new friends to prove the Chief's innocence as he is convicted and ...more
I'm kicking myself for taking so long to get to this book. Sally Jones is absolutely wonderful! An anthropoid ape, Sally Jones (that's how she likes to be referred to) is sentient, intelligent, and has worked for years as an engineer aboard the ship Hudson Queen with Chief, Henry Koskela. She and Chief are good friends, and though she cannot speak, she and Chief have, over many years together, learned to function well as a team and care for each other.
After a deal gone very wrong transporting g
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I LOVED this book and I LOVED Sally Jones the eponymous ape of the title. Sally is the narrator and writer of the story and her voice is as warm and fuzzy as a gorilla's should be. Mute - in that she cannot speak to the other characters in the story - this somehow enhances her thoughtful, observant, intelligent nature and ability as a narrator to see what others don't and document it. There is a wealth of observations about human nature as Sally looks in from the outside at how people behave and ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, ya
This is old-fashioned storytelling at its finest: clear-cut villains, an unusual heroine with rare capabilities, far-flung travels, and a bit of a mystery to solve. Sally Jones (and please, do not call her "Sally"---her name is "Sally Jones", thank you very much), our heroine, is a gorilla. She is an exceptional gorilla in that she can read and write, just not speak, so she perfectly understands humans. She has many talents: engineering a cargo ship, playing chess, repairing accordions, to name ...more
Robin Stevens
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The charming life story of a very unusual gorilla. Don't expect a fast-paced mystery narrative - this is more like Around the World in 80 Days than Murder on the Orient Express, and whodunit is never really in doubt - but it's gently fun stuff. (12+)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
Sophie (RedheadReading)
What a delightful, twisty-turny story this is! The worldbuilding was so immersive and I thoroughly enjoyed being sucked into all of Sally Jones's adventures and travels. ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story begins with Sally Jones, the ape noting down her story in order to have a clear conscience. We get to know that Sally Jones works as an engineer on a boat and how her captain was charged guilty of murder and that's where that story line completely takes the backseat and instead the story becomes more about the journey of the ape from Lisbon to India and how she survives once her captain is arrested. Only towards the end after a good 500 pages does the story line of the murder takes the ...more
Eliana G.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Murderer’s Ape, by Jakob Wegelius, is an amazingly well written book about Sally Jones. Sally Jones is a gorilla who has been around humans her entire life. She is an amazing engineer and mechanic, and loves to learn things. When her and her friend Henry Koskela, or “Chief”, are in Lisbon, a man that goes by the name of Morro approaches them and offers them a job to move tiles. It paid very well, but Sally Jones was unsure of Morro. Sally Jones and Chief manned their own boat, the Hudson Que ...more
Annie M
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

Sally Jones is a heroine like no other. She loves music, excels at engineering, and does not talk. She also happens to be a gorilla. When her best friend, the Chief, is falsely imprisoned for murder, Sally Jones is left all alone in the city of Lisbon. With a little luck and the help of a few new friends, Sally Jones gets the chance to prove the Chief's innocence. This opportunity sends her on an adventure all the way to India and back. The Murd
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just one of the best books I have read all year!!! I loved this – the story, the characters, the setting, the writing! It is sooooo good. I'll be on the lookout for anything by Wegelius from now on, and, indeed, more European literature for children. ...more
Sam Tornio
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For all its rollicking adventure, this generous book is ultimately a profound and subtle meditation on the particulars of loneliness, the depth of grief, and the work of redemption.
Kieran Fanning
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 out of 5 stars to THE MURDERER'S APE by Jakob Wegelius - a brilliant globe-trotting adventure, full of danger and charm, told by the most original of narrators, and beautifully illustrated by the author.

Only loose thread that bugged me was Ana's secret admirer - or perhaps I missed the relevance of him.
Anastasia Dines
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book because of how extraordinary and how much dedication Sally Jones had. She never gives up and always finds a solution.

The end is really sweet and I can’t wait for another Sally Jones adventure.
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love one ape and her name is Sally Jones
Alex Peachman
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an old-fashioned adventure story told from the point of view of a gorilla! Sally Jones can't speak, but she is an expert engineer and is determined to clear the name of her boss after he is wrongly accused of murder. There's a sea voyage, a stay in a Maharaja's palace and lots of rooftop escapes. Full of exotic, weird and wonderful adventures, my only criticism is that the ending did drag a bit. ...more
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere in the beginning of 2019 I drifted into a big megastore in a town in Flanders, Belgium, and found a big offering of discounted books in English. As my book buying is most of the time quite intuitive I saw it as a nice occasion to get to know new authors without spending too much (I am not much of a library man). A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles) was one of the big surprises, and this was the other one. It is a beautifully illustrated book, illustrated and written in 2014 in Sweden by ...more
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would lay down my life for Sally Jones.
Do animals have feelings? What do they think about? Do they understand anything? This book by an author from Sweden answers all these questions.

The main character is a gorilla named Sally Jones. She works as a mechanic on a shop and lives in our world, not so far away: in romantic Lisbon. Sally Jones is capable of many things humans can do. She even plays chess! As many other animals (and not many other human beings) she's very loyal to her owner, so when he gets in trouble, she doesn't simply w
Brona's Books
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Wegelius has created a classically told story full of friendship, courage, kindness, determination and loyalty. Sally Jones is a gorilla - yes, a gorilla - who is smart, thoughtful and very talented, but she cannot speak. However Sally Jones can write a little and at the start of this story she learns to type on a 1908 Underwood No. 5 typewriter.

By the end of the first page I completely believed the premise of this tale and having a gorilla as the protagonist seemed perfectly natural. S
Karen Miller
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Murder’s Ape: the odyssey of an ape named Sally Jones, whose owner is accused of killing a small time crook. This isn’t a fast paced who dunnit, so be prepared to meet many fun, funny and fascinating characters as the story meanders from Portugal to England to London to Egypt to India. Sally Jones tells the story from her very intelligent point of view, which makes the journey unique and exciting. It’s an award winner in Scandinavia, and I can understand why.
Though listed as YA, it’s appropr

Visit the locations in the novel

A joy in both languages! Having read this in the original Swedish when a very thoughtful friend sent it with a note ‘Saw this and thought of you”. Not really sure if that was a good sign since it’s about a monkey with attitude who sails the seven seas. Having said that the monkey is tough and wants to clear her friends’s name of a crime and investigate the truth plus she LOVES a good adventure so I’m hoping she meant this side of the book!

It reminded me of ARound
Devika Ramadoss
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first book in this new year became very special to me. The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius stays high in terms of rating of all books I read.
Sally Jones has to find an evidence to prove her captain's innocence who has been convicted for twenty five years of life in jail for committing a murder. Sally Jones, an engineer,an ape , an intelligent ape was abandoned because of the murder trial ends up meeting new and different people who in turn takes her to her unforgettable life journey.
A must r
Nadira M
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a charming story! This is a wonderful read, detailing the adventures of Sally Jones and her friends as they try to clear the name of her friend, the Captain wrongly accused of murder. She traverses Lisbon and further afield, ending up in India in the enployment of a Maharaja, who embarks on his own journey of personal growth. She meets many characters along the way, some who become friends, others who most certainly do not! Having a soft spot for Lisbon this was a joy to read. It brought ba ...more
Josie B.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, fantasy
This was a delightfully quirky novel that a friend recommended. The day my library hold arrived was the day it received the American Library Association's Batchelder Award , given to the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.

Something in the language, pacing and illustrations reminded me of Maria Gripe's The Night Daddy, but the
Les McFarlane
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This wasn’t a book that I would have picked up of my own accord if I’m honest. That is to Sarah for the recommendation!
Really enjoyed it. It was such an enjoyable read, even though it was lengthy, it was never a chore. The story is told by sally jones, the murderer’s ape referred to in the title ( typed of course. We all know apes can’t talk!) Her adventure to reveal the truth and overturn her friend’s prison sentence, convicted of murder he didn’t commit, crosses continents and shows humans at
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve wanted to read this book since it came out in the UK and it did not disappoint. It is very long (over 600 pages), but it really didn’t feel it. The English translation is brilliant, and like a lot of adult translated fiction still keeps an essence of the original language in the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale of Sally Jones.

This doesn’t mean it was without its problems, and I really don’t enjoy some of the old-world feel it was given. Of course it is primarily a book about a gori
Angela Groves
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that would have been my favourite as a child. It's a story full of mystery and adventure. It's exciting, moving and an absolute joy to read. It is written from the perspective of a gorilla named Sally Jones, and she is wonderful. There are times when you forget she isn't human, then every so often you get those subtle reminders, and you love her even more. Every character is so well written, they bring out all the right feelings. This is an incredible book that will inspire a love ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy this book but I think it was unnecessarily long. The plot moved slowly until the last 100 pages and then it went so so fast and it felt a bit strange, the pacing was just quite off, I thought. I enjoyed the story and I liked reading about Sally Jones’ adventures, but it just wasn’t really what I was expecting at all. I do still recommend it though because despite all this I managed to read nearly 600 pages in 3 days which is quite an achievement for me, so that must be a good sign. I ...more
Andrew Wolgemuth
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fiction, book-club
Most certainly the best gorilla-narrated book I've ever read, this translated YA novel is a fun read (and Peter Graves's narration is outstanding). Sally Jones is a likeable heroine who exemplifies making one's way in the world despite obstacles and natural disadvantages, weathering unexpected adventures and situations along the way. ...more
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