Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Elizabeth George and Will Ferguson

By Lynn Willoughby

This author of the Inspector Lynley crime novels has been around for 2 decades.   I have read many of her books and always enjoy the working relationship  and its problems between Lynley and Barbara Havers, his partner.  So I was disappointed in this book as they were not really working together.  Lynley is mostly in London and Havers in Dorset and Shropshire.
However, it is still a mystery with great psychological depth, as always.  George’s characters are complex, her descriptions of the countryside are background for unspeakable horrors and of course, we do have Havers and Lynley to anchor the storyline.
Not one to retreat from the darker social issues, George leads us down several disturbing paths.  As usual, the plots and characters are twisted together and difficult to separate.  The characters “…were maddening in their nastiness and weakness…”  The secrets they don’t share add up to disaster for so many people.
So we have suicide, abuse, rape, anonymous internet sex, feminism, murder, assault and downright wickedness.
Without spoiling this complex plot I will leave it there.  And while there is much evil in this novel, it is also a novel about relationships – successful, hopeful or sweet, but seldom smooth.
– Just One Evil Act
– This Body of Death
and many others
I knew this book of non-fiction would not be an easy read, but I like Ferguson’s style of writing so wanted to get into his newest book.  He can take a very dark subject – Rawanda,  and while giving us the history, the statistics and facts about war, he is able to intersperce it with humour that makes me laugh out loud!  Let me clarify – there is not a lot of humour about Rawanda.  Mostly Ferguson pokes fun at himself, or plays with words,  “gorilla” or “guerrilla”, or makes his conversations with kids met along the way into lots of fun, or he just leaves us to imagine his wife’s delight that after travelling for weeks in Rawanda, he bought her an apron as a souvenir!
Ferguson and Jean-Claude Munyezama – who narrowly escaped the genocide in his home country, meet in Calgary as soccer dads.  Jean-Claude was working at the Cargill plant neat High River, as a new immigrant.  Their friendship matures t the point where they will travel to the “Land of a Thousand Hills”.  They get to the legendary source of the Nile, they see Dian Fossey’s “Gorillas in the Mist,” they visit tragic genocide sites and museums, and the world’s “most escapable prison”, all the while dispensing donated soccer equipment, jerseys and balls from Canada.  Rawand is a country reborn for Jean-Claude and an eye opener for Ferguson, and for me!
“Open door visa policies, full internet access, the free flow of trade and information, a zero tolerance policy for corruption, the abolition of the death penalty – these are not the actions one normally associates with a totalitarian regime – yet this is “…what Paul Kagame is in fact presiding over…”.  “The World Economic Forum places Rawanda among the best countries in the world when it comes to governance with accountability built into the system.”
Ferguson’s account of Rawanda twenty years after almost a MILLION Tutsis were massacred will break your heart.  However, Ferguson’s gift will “…keep repairing it with the most beautiful, poignant, sweet, funny and human things, from the landscape and wildlife, to the people and culture, and all kinds of surprising, dusty corners.”
This is a rare book, even better than “419”.  It is not for the faint of heart, as neither Jean-Claude not Ferguson sugar coat anything!  However, all of Canada should be reading it!!
– Happiness
– Beauty Tips From Moosejaw
and others
Who Knew?
German missionaries were the first to introduce coffee growing to Rawanda.  Today, it is Africa’s ninth largest producer of Arabica beans and one of the country’s few significant cash crops.

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