The Africa Series
British East Africa, 1911
"A beautiful and sensitive story set in colonial Africa—a moving tale of intrigue and love. Every page a pleasure."
—Michael Stanley, Barry Award-winning author of Deadly Harvest
There are rules for the British and rules for tribal people. Vera McIntosh, daughter of Scottish missionaries, having grown up in Africa with Kikuyu playmates, is not the well-bred Scottish maiden her mother would like her to be. More than anything she dreams of the idealistic and handsome Justin Tolliver, an Assistant District Superintendent of Police she's danced with.
When the body of Vera's uncle, the doctor at the mission hospital, is found with a tribesman’s spear in his back, Tolliver comes to investigate. He first focuses on a Kikuyu medicine man known to have condemned the doctor, whose cures were increasingly preferred over his. But the weapon is a Maasai spear, not Kikuyu, and it's doubtful the witch doctor would have used it.
Tolliver's superior wants him to arrest the medicine man, but Tolliver pleads for the chance to prove the man's guilt. With the help of Kwai Libazo, a tribal lieutenant, Tolliver discovers that others also had reasons to hate the Scottish doctor.
This romantic and engaging mystery captures the beauty and the danger of the African wild and the complexities of life when cultures clash.
Idols of Mombasa
The Coast of British East Africa, 1912
The British are tangled in an uneasy peace with the Sultan of Zanzibar. Much of the tangle concerns the slave trade. The British have outlawed it, but Arab law permits it, and to keep the uneasy peace, the Brits must turn a blind eye to some infractions of their rules.
This slippery morality infuriates Vera Tolliver, a Scottish missionary’s daughter and the bride of an English police officer whose job it is to enforce the law…after he figures out what it is. The murder of a runaway slave only increases the complications, especially because a longtime friend of Vera’s family is the likeliest suspect. And Vera and Tolliver discover that official fingers are knotted into the tangle’s every strand.
The Highlands of British East Africa, 1913
Justin Tolliver is on the brink of enormous change. The younger son of an English peer—with no money and no prospects—he had joined the police force, full of dreams of bringing His Majesty’s justice to a dark and savage world. But, after two years, with his faith in British justice in tatters, Justin is opting instead for life as a farmer and a newly minted family-man.
It is his wife, Vera, who has helped him put aside images of darkness and to see Africa as all but lit from within. Even as Justin is embracing Africa, Vera’s faith in the land is being tested, as she is brought face to face with terrible brutalities and her own naiveté. There are murders, yes, and Justin and Vera will take a hand in solving them. When the crimes are solved, Justin and Vera will eventually have to reckon with unexpected levels of injustice.
The South American Stories
City of Silver
Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, 1650
The city of Potosi is under investigation from the King of Spain for producing counterfeit silver coins. Meanwhile, the Grand Inquisitor of New Spain is also investigating an abbess Mother Maria Santa Hilda, who has allowed an apparent suicide, a young woman who died inside her convent, to be buried in sacred ground. But Mother Maria does not believe the death was suicide, and to save herself from burning at the stake, she must uncover the murderer. Her investigation reveals some extremely dangerous secrets, that intensify the threat to her life.
An atmospheric historical mystery set in an unusual locale with a strong female protagonist, City of Silver will please both history and mystery buffs alike with its stunning sense of authenticity. Library Journal described it as a “nail-biting thriller in which Latin American history comes alive," and The Washington Post compared it to The Name of the Rose.
A war against Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay has devastated Paraguay. Ninety percent of the males between the ages of eight and eighty have died. Food is scarce. In the small village of Santa Caterina, Padre Gregorio advises the women of his congregation to abandon the laws of the church and get pregnant by what men are available. As he leaves the pulpit, he discovers the murdered body of Ricardo Yotté, one of the most powerful men in the country, at the bottom of the belfry.
Suspects abound; Eliza Lynch, a former Parisian courtesan now the consort of the brutal dictator—Francisco Solano López. She had entrusted to Yotté the country’s now-missing treasury of gold and jewels. López himself, who may have suspected Yotté of an affair with the beautiful Eliza. Comandante Luis Menenez, local representative of the dictator, who competed with Yotté for López’s favor. And a Brazilian soldier who has secretly taken up with a village girl.
To avoid having an innocent person dragged off to torture and death, a band of villagers undertakes to solve the crime. Each carries secrets they seek to protect from the others, while they pursue their quest for the truth.
Lyrical, complex, and meticulously researched, Annamaria Alfieri's Invisible Country is an ingenious cross between Isabel Allende and Agatha Christie.
Buenos Aires, 1945
The most dramatic and tumultuous period in Argentine history: Colonel Juan Perón, supremely powerful and despised more than any man in the country, has been forced out of office. Many people fear that his mistress, radio actress Evita Duarte, will use her skill at swaying the masses to restore him to power.
When an obscure Evita lookalike is brutally murdered, police detective Roberto Leary concludes that someone out to eliminate the popular star mistook the girl for Evita. The search for the killer soon involves the girl’s employer, who is Evita’s dressmaker, her journalist lover, and Pilar, a seamstress in the dress shop and a tango dancer. The suspects include a leftist union leader and a young Lieutenant who feels Perón has dishonored the Army. Their stories collide in this thrilling and sensuous historical mystery.