While on safari in Africa in 1963, New York sleuths Thomas and Sandrine Curry stumble across a mystery involving guerrillas and a murdered American tourist.
In their third outing, amateur sleuths Thomas Curry and his “quintessentially French” wife, Sandrine, have left New York City for a photo safari in central Africa, where they are caught up in the maneuverings of civil and military authorities in Burundi. Although at first crime fiction buffs may find the period (1963) and setting daunting for a casual read, Bowen effectively mines the situation’s inherent tension while indulging his taste for complex plotting. Thomas and Sandy observe an oddly halfhearted military attack on a ragtag convoy; that night an American, identified by his passport as Alex Hanson, is killed at their hotel. Claude Devereaux, a European engineer who shared a room with Hanson, is captured fleeing the hotel and charged with the murder. Investigating magistrate Antoine Mboya drafts Thomas as a witness, in the apparent belief that an American is less likely than a Burundian to be intimidated by Major Michel Ndala, who wants the case tried under military jurisdiction. Meanwhile Devereaux asks to see Sandy and claims he was set up. As Thomas and Sandy sort out what is afoot, narrator Theodore Furst, an international lawyer and friend of Thomas’s father, works his way into the plot, although here, as in Fielder’s Choice, he is little more than a fifth wheel.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Thomas and Sandy continue to charm . . . . ”
“ . . . Bowen effectively mines the situation’s inherent tensions while indulging his taste for complex plotting.”