The Chanteuse From Cape Town by John Constable: 4****

By now many of you know how I love to read the first book of a series, and I was mighty pleased and impressed with “The Chanteuse From Cape Town” by John Constable. Constable lives in England but has a fantastic handle on South Africa, and in the first book of the Sol Nemo series, he dazzles us with these insights into the country as Sol Nemo traverses much of the country in order to solve this case.

            We meet Sol as he is called in to assist in recovering the wife of Sol’s dear friend. She has been kidnapped, and there has been a ransom demand of $50 Million. An intermediary had been hired to raise that type of money, which was done by the sale of a Security business. As a former member of the South African police, something never seems quite right to Sol in this entire kidnapping/ransom scheme, but his part is only to arrange delivery of funds and gain the captives release. Unfortunately, things do not go according to plan.

            This is a wonderful book in which we get to follow Sol as he attempts to find both the kidnappers and the mastermind behind the plot. Not only does he have to deal with rather unseedy criminals, he also realizes that someone in the police force is also connected to this kidnapping. Along the way, we get to see Sol try to solve his own personal demons, and the author does a great job in his portrayal of Sol as a man who has his own life and problems, which is something most writers never insert as part of the character’s development.

            This is an action book without a lot of the unnecessary “shoot ‘em up” scenes, although there is one scene at a winery that reminded me of Tony Montana in “Scarface.” Yes, the infamous “Say hello to my little friend” scene!

But most all the actions are real, the plot is well devised, and you want to stay up all night until you finish this book. Constable has also included eating & dining scenes, something you also rarely see people do in these types of books. It all is part of Sol Nemo, and this makes you like the humanness that Constable has given to Sol.  

A really good first book of the series, with another book coming out later with the little-used word “Chanteuse” in the title. Top Notch effort!!

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