The Pineapples of Wrath
One of my favorite TCAF discoveries was The Pineapples of Wrath by Cathon from Pow Pow Press. I knew nothing about artist, publisher, or book, but it was a fun, escapist read with a distinct, unusual sensibility. Once I checked it out, I kept sending other people over to get some pineapples.
In a small Quebec city with the “world’s largest Hawaiian neighborhood”, Marie-Plum bartends at a tiki bar but keeps getting distracted by the latest mystery she’s reading. She finds her neighbor, a former limbo champion, dead, and winds up investigating what happened when the police are distracted by their yearly corn roast.
The publisher’s description calls this “a quirky detective story as well as a loving tribute to tiki kitsch and old school exotica,” and that’s exactly what it is. I was won over by the author’s stated inspiration of Agatha Christie. It’s a wonderful page-turner that demands, once you know what happens, to be reread at a slower pace to enjoy the particulars of the atmosphere. The characters Marie-Plum meets along her quest are wildly unusual and the events coo-coo, but it all comes together thanks to the cocktail culture island atmosphere.
The art is approachable, simple in design but with the substantial detail and backgrounds you need for a mystery story with such a strong sense of place and theme. The presentation is handsome, with substantial, creamy paper and French flaps. You can see preview pages at the publisher’s website.