With reluctance, I picked up Tamar Myers' The Witch Doctor's Wife to give her writing a second chance. The first in a four book series based in 1950's Belgian Congo, I was pleasantly surprised right away by the differences between this book and Myers' silly Pennsylvania Dutch series. While maybe not technically a mystery, it nevertheless has murder, secrets and intrigue to satisfy.
Growing out of Myers' years in the Congo as the child of missionary parents, the book features newly arrived young American Amanda Stone, new hostess for a missionary guest hostel. The authenticity in the book is detailed and descriptive, including unique personalities and interactions between the different ethnic groups and between expats and locals, not to mention portraying the clash of religious beliefs and practices that have led to unique forms of Christianity, Islam, and shamanism throughout Africa. The corporate nature of the community is well-done and probably pretty accurate. I enjoyed the book immensely and really appreciated the portrayal of challenges faced by the different individuals both in the political and social environments as well as in dealing with the ambiguities that arise when vastly differing cultures and beliefs collide.
The beauty of Africa, the warm relationships, and the unique humor and jokes--they all felt familiar! (I spent four years in the West African country of Mali.) Definitely recommended.~ Tessa 2013 4 out of 5 stars