Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review : The Witch Doctors Wife by Tamar Myers

From Amazon:

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Myers draws on her own experiences as the daughter of white missionaries living in the Belgian Congo for this dazzling novel full of authentic African lore. In 1958, Amanda Brown and her fellow passengers suffer only minor injuries when the plane bringing them to the diamond mining community of Belle Vue makes a crash landing. The 23-year-old South Carolina native, who's spent six months in Belgium studying French and the Congolese language of Tshiluba, has come to Belle Vue to run a missionary guesthouse, where she soon employs one of a local witch doctor's two wives, the delightful, no-nonsense Cripple. The discovery of a huge uncut diamond sets off a chain of unfortunate events leading to Cripple's being charged with murder. This marks a major breakthrough for Myers as she displays storytelling skills not recently seen in the claustrophobic confines of her Pennsylvania-Dutch (Batter Off Dead) and Den of Antiquity (Poison Ivory) mystery series. (Nov.)
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Loved this book! Well for one I love reading about different countries and cultures.
The setting is in the Belgian Congo. The characters are Amanda, who is a missionary who has come to take the place of the missionary's who are running the missionary guest house. She finds herself in culture shock, so many differences between the American and the Belgians.
The witch doctor who goes by the name of Their Death. He has 2 wives, Cripple and Second Wife. Their Deaths son, Baby Boy is sucking on a rock. The rock is a diamond. The diamond mine in the Belgian is owned by the Consortium and anyone caught with a diamond faces stiff fines and the whip. Their Death cannot smuggle the diamond for fear of getting caught so he decides he will confront his boss, the Postmaster to sell him the diamond. Many events happen after this meeting that makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens! The end was unexpected and surprising. The only part that I would say didn't need to be in the book was about the Nigerian man but maybe it was to make a point about  the seriousness of the diamonds in the Belgian Congo.
I give this one 5 stars !

About Tamar Myers from her website:
Tamar Myers was born and raised in the Belgian Congo (now just the Congo).  Her parents were missionaries to a tribe which, at that time, were known as headhunters and used human skulls for drinking cups.  Hers was the first white family ever to peacefully coexist with the tribe, and Tamar grew up fluent in the local trade language.  Because of her pale blue eyes, Tamar’s nickname was Ugly Eyes.
    Tamar grew up eating elephant, hippopotamus and even monkey.  She attended a boarding school that was two days away by truck, and sometimes it was necessary to wade through crocodile infested waters to reach it.  Other dangers she encountered as a child were cobras, deadly green mambas, and the voracious armies of driver ants that ate every animal (and human) that didn’t get out of their way.
    In 1960 the Congo, which had been a Belgian colony, became an independent nation.  There followed a period of retribution (for heinous crimes committed against the Congolese by the Belgians) in which many Whites were killed.  Tamar and her family fled the Congo, but returned a year later.  By then a number of civil wars were raging, and the family’s residence was often in the line of fire.  In 1964, after living through three years of war, the family returned to the United States permanently.
    Tamar was sixteen when her family settled in America, and she immediately underwent severe culture shock.  She didn’t know how to dial a telephone, cross a street at a stoplight, or use a vending machine.  She lucked out, however, by meeting her husband, Jeffrey, on her first day in an American high school.  They literally bumped heads while he was leaving, and she entering, the Civics classroom.
    In college Tamar began to submit novels for publication, but it took twenty-three years for her to get published.  Persistence paid off, however, because Tamar is now the author of two ongoing mystery series.  One is set in Pennsylvania and features Magdalena Yoder, an Amish-Mennonite sleuth who runs a bed and breakfast in the mythical town of Hernia.  The other is set in the Carolinas and centers around the adventures of Abigail Timberlake, the proud owner of a Charlotte (and later Charleston) antique store, the Den of Antiquity.
    Tamar now calls Charlotte, NC home. She lives with her husband, plus a Basenji dog named Pagan, a Bengal cat named Nkashama, and an orange tabby rescue cat named Dumpster Boy. She and her husband are of the Jewish faith, the animals are not.
    Tamar enjoys gardening (she is a Master Gardner), bonsai, travel, painting and, of course, reading. She loves Thai and Indian food, and antique jewelry. She plans to visit Machu Pichu in the near future.
    She is currently working on her 30th novel.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Great review. This isn't a book I'd normally pick up, but you've made it sound so good.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This sounds fascinating, Natalie! Thanks for sharing it.

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Aarti said...

Wow, this sounds really interesting. It seems to tackle race, African religion AND the diamond trade all in one book!

Anonymous said...

Great review. It sounds fantastic!