The Witch Doctor's Wife
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The Witch Doctor's Wife

3.8 15
by Tamar Myers
     
 

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From beloved mystery writer Tamar Myers comes an enthralling tale of duty, greed, danger, and miracles in equatorial Africa.

The Congo beckons to young Amanda Brown in 1958, as she follows her missionary calling to the mysterious "dark continent" far from her South Carolina home. But her enthusiasm cannot cushion her from the shock of

Overview

From beloved mystery writer Tamar Myers comes an enthralling tale of duty, greed, danger, and miracles in equatorial Africa.

The Congo beckons to young Amanda Brown in 1958, as she follows her missionary calling to the mysterious "dark continent" far from her South Carolina home. But her enthusiasm cannot cushion her from the shock of a very foreign culture—where competing missionaries are as plentiful as flies, and oppressive European overlords are busy stripping the land of its most valuable resource: diamonds.

Little by little, Amanda is drawn into the lives of the villagers in tiny Belle Vue—and she is touched by the plight of the local witch doctor, a man known as Their Death, who has been forced to take a second job as a yardman to support his two wives. But when First Wife stumbles upon an impossibly enormous uncut gem, events are set in motion that threaten to devastate the lives of these people Amanda has come to admire and love—events that could lead to nothing less than murder.

Richly evocative, written with warmth and humor, and based on the author's own experiences, Tamar Myers's The Witch Doctor's Wife is an unforgettable African journey with a spellbinding mystery at its heart.

Editorial Reviews

Mary Alice Monroe
“Only an author with an intimate knowledge of the Congo—its people, landscape, and culture--could write a novel with such confidence and authority. This is a lush novel, rich with tension and intricately woven, believable characters. Myers clearly loves the Congo—and you will love this book. I did!”
Carolyn Hart
Tamar Myers’ mesmerizing novel of mid-twentieth century Congo plumbs passion, despair, and courage. The Witch Doctor’s Wife will long linger in the hearts and minds of readers. Authentic. Powerful. Triumphant.
Rock Hill Herald
“Myers’ charming sense of humor lightens the darkness of her subject (murder, of course!).”
Kirkus Reviews
A tale of wildly clashing cultures in the Belgian Congo. American missionary Amanda Brown arrives in 1958, eager to save souls. Her plane crashes on arrival, but she survives and is rescued by a mysterious Nigerian. The small town of Belle Vue is the center of a diamond-mining region. Even the least significant Europeans live quite well, while the natives on the other side of the river struggle for existence. When the witch doctor, Their Death, finds his second wife's youngest child sucking on an enormous uncut diamond, his efforts to turn the stone into a better life for his family unleash a chain of disasters. His first wife, the clever Cripple, replaces the stone with glass; the white man approached by Their Death for help becomes embroiled in endless plots with his male lover and the local head of the mining consortium. Amanda hires Cripple to work with her surly housekeeper and becomes fond of the witch doctor's (first) wife, although neither fully understands the other's very different lifestyle. Amanda, who has made no friends among the Europeans, defends Cripple when she falsely confesses to murdering a white man. The author's personal experience as a child brought up by missionaries in the Congo lends authenticity to every word. A radical but welcome departure for Myers (As the World Churns, 2008, etc.). Fans of Alexander McCall Smith may well find Cripple as delightful as Precious Ramotswe.
Publishers Weekly
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.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061727832
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/20/2009
Pages:
307
Sales rank:
855,133
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.77(d)

What People are saying about this

Mary Alice Monroe
“Only an author with an intimate knowledge of the Congo—its people, landscape, and culture—could write a novel with such confidence and authority. This is a lush novel, rich with tension and intricately woven, believable characters. Myers clearly loves the Congo—and you will love this book. I did!”
Carolyn Hart
Tamar Myers’ mesmerizing novel of mid-twentieth century Congo plumbs passion, despair, and courage. The Witch Doctor’s Wife will long linger in the hearts and minds of readers. Authentic. Powerful. Triumphant.

Meet the Author

Tamar Myers is the author of the Belgian Congo series and the Den of Antiquity series as well as the Pennsylvania-Dutch mysteries. Born and raised in the Congo, she lives in North Carolina.

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Witch Doctor's Wife 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
debbook More than 1 year ago
Amanda Brown leave her South Carolina home to travel to the Belgian Congo in 1958. When she arrives, she discovers that the couple she is taking over from will not be back for a couple of weeks and Amanda must manage on her own, with one servant, Protruding Navel to assist her. Though Amanda has learned one of the local dialects, there is much about this culture that she does not understand. Meanwhile the baby boy of the local witch doctor, Their Death, finds a large diamond while his mother, Second Wife, works in the fields. Once Their Death discovers that a diamond has been found, he makes plans to try to sell it without the local diamond consortium finding out. His first wife, Cripple has decided she wants to work for the new young missionary woman. Cripple discovers what her husband is planning to do and sets in motion a chain of events that effect everyone. my review: This is the first book I have read by this author, though she has written several cozy mysteries. But this book is based on her childhood experience of living in the Congo with her missionary parents. The author does a great job of showing the differences in culture between the Europeans and the Africans as well as the differences and problems between the tribes that reside around the little village of Belle Vue. She has created some interesting characters but does not delve into them as deeply as I would have liked. A few characters are set up with situations but then quickly disappear. The main character is really Cripple and she is also the most interesting, as she finagles a job with Amanda and outsmarts her husband in order to protect the whole family. I think this was supposed to be more literary and make more of a social commentary but the author did not dig deep enough and it read more like the cozy mysteries that she is known for. It had a lot of potential but was underdeveloped. my rating- 2.5/5 http://bookmagic418.blogspot.com/
Bit More than 1 year ago
This book is quite a departure from Tamar Myers' Den of Antiquity and Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries. She has a love for the Africa that she knew and a yet an understanding of the dangers of the Africa of then and now. I liked the book quite a bit and would recommend it with the caveat that if one is a reader of Tamar Myers, this will be a departure from the usual humorous ride of her other stories.
Noticer More than 1 year ago
Found very interesting and really enjoyed little tidbits before each chapter which gives you a sense of Africa. Fast read and exciting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The Witch Doctor's Wife" by Tama Meyers tells the story of the diamond industry in The Congo in the late '50's. What makes this story interesting is that the author was born and raised in The Congo so this fictional story takes on an even greater meaning. What detracts from this story is the multitude of characters - some underdeveloped, some appearing to be just place holders and others serving a distinct purpose. I put the book down about half way through and had a hard time trying to remember who was who and where the story was going. While the first third of the book was very interesting - setting the story up, giving great background and detail of The Congo (you feel you can hear the water falls!) and introducing the plucky main character. From there the story dissolves with the introduction of too many supporting characters, the mystery and ultimately the climax at the ending. There was too much going on at the end of the story and too many of the plots resolved too quickly. While I enjoyed this book, I felt that it needed a good editing and a decrease in supporting characters. If Ms. Meyers intends to have a sequel, my suggestion would be to stick to the main character in the story - the location. I was ready to book a trip to the dark continent while reading the book!
Chris_Phillips More than 1 year ago
The Witch Doctor's Wife by Tamara Myers ISBN 978-0-06-172783-2 Review by Chris Phillips The Witch Doctor's Wife is historical fiction. The action occurs in the Belgian Congo of 1958 just before that nation's independence. The main characters are Their Death, a Witch Doctor for the local tribe in the area of Belle Vue, a Belgian colonial village, and Amanda Brown, an American missionary coming to the area to manage a guest house. Myers writes a very well penned novel. There is a mystery, actually three mysteries, and they play an important part in the plot and the flow of the novel. The story begins with the airplane Amanda arrives on crashing in the jungle that surrounds the landing strip. The perspective of the plot changes from Amanda's situation to other situations as the story progresses. This may seem to be disjointed, but it is something that can and does work for Myers. This allows for several different subplots to ebb and flow throughout the novel. The plot, and various subplots, are consistent and interweave well to make this a good tale. Myers is normally a "fun" mystery writer. She has written fifteen "Den of Antiquity" mysteries and seventeen Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries. Both of those series contain lighthearted and frolicking stories. This work is much darker and more brooding, as is suitable for a tale set in the same land as Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The characters are very much alive and fully developed; even those that don't have names, or are only mentioned once or twice. There is, however, a stark contrast between the whites and the Congolese, as was the case at that time in history. Each player makes their contributions, while some move closer to the front and others recede. Their Death's First Wife, named Cripple by her peers, is lively and the intellectual equal of any others. Second Wife, although not named anything else, is the stable factor in the Witch Doctor's house. The police captain, Pierre Jardin is very important to the plot and resolution of the mysteries, but often seems a bit player. However, he is real and easily visualized. The list of characters is considerable and these examples are but a sample of those populating the novel. None of the characters suffer at Myers' hand. Myers' incorporates an odd feature in this book. The beginning of each chapter offers some tidbit of information about the Congo, its flora and fauna and even Myers' own longing wish to return there some day. Although there must be some logic for where each tidbit is presented, it is not apparent to this reviewer. What is apparent is that Myers grew to love the Congo, the people there and is a very able defender of that region of Africa. This is a very good book. The viewpoints and problems of the people living in that time and place are fairly depicted by Myers. There are some characters that do not quite seem to fit, but perhaps this reviewer missed some subtle details, because the book as a whole is a wonderful read and a delightful trip into Myers' past and the Congo's history. It is highly recommended for any reader, but particularly for those readers who enjoyed her other books. As posted on www.bestsellersworld.com (http://www.bestsellersworld.com/2009/10/19/the-witch-doctors-wife-by-tamara-myers/)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
0me More than 1 year ago
a refreshing departure from her other work
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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pjpick More than 1 year ago
My first of Tamar Meyer's books. First what I liked about the book. I appreciated the illumination of a time and place with clashing cultures. Meyers also started each chapter with a factoid on Congolese culture or fauna, I actually found these paragraphs much more interesting than the book itself. Now for what I didn't like: no depth! We just skim the characters and the events of the story. Perhaps TM was just trying to get us to know too many characters that she had no room for the story. Just my take on it. Lovely cover, though.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasted my money . . . buying no more of Tamar Myers' books. This was listed in the Cozy Books genre; therefore, supposedly no cursing. After first few pages, cursing . . . had to stop reading. I am going to Africa for the third time in a few months and was excited to find a series on Africa. I've read all of Alexander McCall Smith's #1 Detective series - loved them. Tamar Myers has done herself and any potential readers who don't want to fill their minds with unnecessary words and inappropriate words a disservice. Anyone can write a book using curse words.