The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius (Pushkin Children’s paperback, £7.99)

Any kids, or indeed adults out there, keen to rekindle the enjoyment they felt reading Herge’s Tintin books for the first time, need look no further. This is the book for them, or possibly you! Adventure, travel, intrigue, music, maharajahs, boats, shipyards, trains and a whole lot more combine in this thrilling adventure book, albeit one with a unique feature. The entire story is narrated by a gorilla of enormous intelligence called Sally Jones, who cannot speak but has great empathy and understanding with those around her.

Without giving too much away, we first meet Sally Jones working as an engineer aboard a ship with her devoted comrade and friend (Chief). From there, events conspire to take Sally on a global quest for justice, first leading her to the house (the window in fact) of a hard-working Fado singer through whom we meet her grouchy musical-instrument-repairing landlord, and from there, across the world and back again, encountering many a danger, and some wonderful characters along the way.

This is a satisfyingly long book, perfect for those who tend to race through books in a morning, but written in short chapters. I’d say 10+ for reader age but very suitable for adults. The highly-talented Swedish author also provides exquisite hand-drawn portraits of all the characters at the front of the book, which just adds to the overall charm. The translator Peter Graves and publishers Pushkin have both done sterling work on what looks and reads like an old-fashioned adventure story, a real book to curl up with and enjoy.

It was a favourite of Little Apple staff when it came out in hardback last year (we all went off and investigated Fado music as a result too) and it is now available for the first time in paperback at a very reasonable £7.99. So, yes, if you read one book this year narrated by an accordion-making female gorilla, then make sure it’s this one.

Reviewed by Tim Curtis, Little Apple bookshop