Jussi Adler-Olsen’s fifth novel in the Department Q series, under the “leadership” of Copenhagen Detective Carl Morck, continues the story of Morck and his unconventional assistants who operate out of a basement office dedicated to the solution of cold cases. This novel begins obliquely. A man from a Baka village of pygmies in Cameroon, Louis Fon, is working with a Danish bank which funds development work in the rural Baka area of the country. After receiving a cellphone call in the jungle, he realizes that his discovery of funding irregularities puts his life at risk, and he has only enough time to type out a message (which is unreadable) before he is attacked. Further development of this plot line shows the massive corruption of the funding bank in Denmark, and the administrators in Cameroon who are responsible for using the funds for the betterment of the rural Baka area. A second plot line takes place Copenhagen, where a group of gypsies, mostly children, under the leadership of a sadistic and violent “spiritual” leader, roam the streets, picking pockets, begging, and doing petty crimes in order to meet their monetary quota each day. Marco, one of the young men still in his early teens, publicly challenges the leader, his own uncle, and, as a result, finds himself running for his life. A third subplot concerns a cold case in which a woman is killed in the explosion of the houseboat on which she lives, and questions arise as to whether this was an insurance scam, a murder by her husband, or some other kind of crime. Adler-Olsen has always excelled at keeping interest high both through his dramatic action and through his use of wonderful repeating characters as they continue to develop.
Category Archive for 'Cameroon'
Naturalist/writer Gerald Durrell, with a writer’s eye for the odd detail, a great sense of humor and absurdity, and an unquenchable enthusiasm for finding unusual animals and telling stories about them, recounts his third animal-collecting trip to the Cameroons in this 1960 memoir. Recently reprinted by Penguin Books, the book is a classic of nature-writing, filled with amusing anecdotes about the animals, the discoveries made about them, and, especially, about the people whose interactions with them often led to hilarious escapades. Durrell is a lively writer with a commitment to conservation and a tremendous sense of fun. Giving the flavor of the whole trip, not just the academic details, he provides a sense of realism at the same time that he displays his own irrepressible humor, much of it directed at himself. Durrell’s zoo on Jersey has now celebrated its 50th anniversary.