Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Witch Dcotor’s Wife-Tamar Myers

The Witch Dcotor’s Wife
Tamar Myers
Avon, Oct 20 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061727832

In 1958 Amanda Brown comes to the Belgium Congo to oversee the guest house where the missionaries stay when they come in from the bush to relax, be with their own kind, get entertained, and be able to go shopping. Amanda hopes to bring the natives to the Lord although that is not why she was hired. She employs Cripple as her aide though her limbs are twisted her mind is sharp.

Cripple is married to Their Death, the local witch doctor, who is forced to accept other means of employment when the Flemish refuse to allow him to practice. Their Death is also married to another woman Second Wife who gave him many children. His young son has a rock in his mouth that Their Death recognizes as a quality diamond. He cannot smuggle it out of the country because the Consortium has guards watching everyone leaving the country. When he makes contact with someone who can afford to buy the gem, Their Death sets in motion a series of events that jeopardizes First Wife Cripple and her South Carolina employer.

Tamar Myers provides a vivid look at the late Eisenhower Era in the Belgium Congo as the occupying Europeans suppress the subjugated natives. This lucid perspective is cleverly seen by the caring American who is shocked by the attitudes of the whites including missionaries as the outsiders see the locals as naive children, a mid twentieth century white man’s burden. Though smuggling seems as if it would be relatively easy for someone like Their Death with his connections, the story line focuses on ironically several deadly sins especially avarice and gluttony as Tamar Myers leaves Pennsylvania Dutch country behind with this stirring colonial African historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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