ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

New Mystery Series - The Witch Doctor's Wife

Updated on June 23, 2010

Africa, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Africa

The mystery writer Tamar Myers, an interesting mix of Amish-Mennonite geneaoloy married to a Jewish gentleman, has written all of these cultures into her previous two series of humorous mystery novels. These series are The Den of Antiquity and The Penn-Dutch Inn mysteries. They are both delightful and the protagonist of the latter, Magdelena Yoder, is a comic hero of mine. She always makes me laugh.

However, Ms. Myers would like to write about her own, less funny, life as a child of missionary parents in Africa. To begin this task, she has produced a different sort of mystery novel that, while still humorous in places, contains not only pith but pain. This first book of an African mystery series is sure to be the foundation of another popular set of novels. At the same time, it seems to lay the groundwork for an autobiographical book. When that book is released, it will astound the reading pubic. Humor, delightful humor, often is the veil standing before a deeply scarred past. Tamar Myers is willing to share.

Postcard of Colonial Mandji, Congo; 1905.
Postcard of Colonial Mandji, Congo; 1905.

Belgian Congo 1958

The format of this story is exceptional. Each chapter heading includes a nugget of information about Belgian Congolese animals, plant life, people, customs, and events. Some of these are startling.

The ending piece mirrors the opening scene, with extended images that tie the whole of the story together and offers hope for another installment and a better life for at least one family in the village of Belle Vue. This is brilliant.

The Witch Doctor’s Wife is not another light “cozy” genre mystery set in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The book stores are full of those. This mystery is not in Pennsylvania or South Carolina, among genteel folk. It is a period piece of the early Cold War, with sharper edges, sharper tongues, and the sharp scent of blood and blood money.

This book develops a stage of character within a historical thriller from the era of the author’s childhood experiences in what 1958’s Belgian Congo. Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of the US and protagonist Amanda Brown is a young woman leaving South Carolina for the African mission of the fundamentalist church.

As it was in Botswana, diamonds seemed to fall from the sky in the Belgian Congo, since there were so many mines. In fact, one huge gem seems to have fallen into a small agricultural plot, presenting a means of escape from abject poverty and starvation for a witch doctor and his wives and baby boy. In fact, all three adults work. The witch doctor, named Their Death, also works at the post office to make a living to support his wives and son, while allowing him time to practice his form of ritualistic folk medicine that does no harm and does some people good. He is unable to make a living with it, however.

Second Wife works at home in the backbreaking tasks of planting, harvesting, cleaning, caring for a child and tending to the other adults in her household. First Wife, Cripple, twisted by a congenital disorder, demands a job from the white woman at the mission guesthouse and gets it. All are working and Baby Boy finds a giant uncut diamond – luck is changing!

Landscape in Bas-Congo, July 2005.
Landscape in Bas-Congo, July 2005.

1960 Conflicts

The Kasai River Gorge

The Kasai River originates in Angola, acting as the border between that nation and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). From Angola, it flows into DRC to merge with the Congo River above Kinshasa. This is a land equatorial rainforests.


The Belgian contingent literally stripped the Congo raw of wealth before they relinquished it to the Indigenous residents, who eagerly awaited Belgian withdrawal. Until then, the Consortium controlled the diamond trade, while Belgian supervisors skimmed all that they could manage. Underling workers also managed to grab a few gems. Greed and graft were palpable.

With wealth such as loose diamonds comes inherent conflict, yet larger conflicts blanket that scene as numerous cultures attempt to coexist. The tribal village Belle Vue sits on top of the Kasai River Gorge, where Africans and Whites live separately. Aside from these cultural differences, the setting hosts intra-cultural difficulties and feuds among related tribes. Each group makes fun of the next, sometimes leading to blows, yet often leading to falling-down laughter among all.

Amanda Brown arrives to take over supervision of the local missionary guesthouse. She is awed by the scenery but stalled by odd Indigenous names and customs. She hires First Wife, who helps her to understand. Amanda is not a petite flower of a young woman, naive and easily offended. She is sharp-witted and speaks the local language. She can manage relationships with the Indigenous peoples at her guest house and in the village. She and her houseman preserve the tart, funny type of banter akin to that of Myers’s Mennonite Magdalena Yoder and Ms. Yoder’s Amish Aunt Frenie in Hernia PA, but with an added dimension. Amanda and her houseman are new, yet familiar. We can recognize their spirits and we welcome them.


Among the shots of humor and scenes of gorgeous African nature and history, this story also contains scheming, bleeding, and dying; scandals and mishaps. A huge diamond in question is rarely seen and many believe it is a fiction. That so many individuals would scamper and slink to such lengths to get hold of it is part of the fun and intrigue of the mystery.

Good Show on this new mystery series!

Congo River Today

Comments and Experiences

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Sounds a great read

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      9 years ago from The English Midlands

      That sounds like a very tempting read :)

    • Deerwhisperer profile image

      Brenda K Krupnow 

      9 years ago from Ravenden, AR

      Very good and informative. Thanks. I am now a loyal follower.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      9 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Your attention to detail and in depth review was great. Your comment, "The ending piece mirrors the opening scene," reflects a brilliant author. Thanks for another great hub.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great review of this book. It makes me want to go out and read it.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I wondered if I'd like it, but I did and really look forward to an autobiography. Thanks, Hello hello!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Sounds a real great book and thank you for introducing it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)