Dancing with the Witchdoctor


Book: Dancing with the Witchdoctor

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September 1, 2001

Kelly James has been an international private investigator on five continents, but it was in Africa that she realized her “greatest adventures and most memorable insights into the human experience.” Given the scope of her work–investigating murders, missing persons, safari accidents, and tangled multinational affairs in the face of such obstacles as lions, famine, kidnappers, and tribal warfare–James takes adventure and insight into territory barely imaginable to the rest of us. The result is a stunning quartet of tales of her most memorable adventures.

In the opening story, “Detour,” James travels to Mombasa, Kenya, to determine whether the death of a remarkable coffee plantation owner was suicide or murder and to hunt for a missing inheritance. Along the way she discovers a mysterious, top-secret school in the jungle. On a “pleasure” trip to Rwanda to see mountain gorillas, accompanied by a morose American teenager, James is caught in gorilla-poaching crossfire and faces the sort of impossible questions Africa so frequently poses–whose life is more valuable, that of an African child or a baby gorilla? In Beira, a coastal city in Mozambique, she and her friend David are given one day to search for David’s missing mother and sister while the Russians pull out, guerrilla fighters approach, and a mass demonstration circles the wreckage. And in the final dramatic story, James just barely survives renegade Turkana warriors, 120-degree heat, starvation, crocodiles, broken ribs, and a head injury in the search for the lost Dr. Kali, an English-educated Turkana witchdoctor. James is truly an audacious explorer–skilled not only in a number of languages but also in living with almost nothing and in the most hostile of environments. She is also tough on her clients. However, just when you think you’re reading nothing more than a very good mystery, complete with colorful international characters and whodunit conundrums, accompanied by a woman long on smarts and balls but short on compassion, she thrusts you squarely into the heart of Africa, where it is impossible not to feel deeply. These are haunting stories written by a remarkable woman who knows not only how to live a life of risk, but how to tell a terrific story. –Lesley Reed

NB: This book will be shipped from Canada.


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