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Belgian Congo Mysteries Books In Order

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Publication Order of Amanda Brown Books

The Witch Doctor's Wife (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Headhunter's Daughter (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Boy Who Stole the Leopard's Spots (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Girl Who Married an Eagle (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

The Belgian Congo Mysteries series takes the reader in the 1950s deep in fascinating Congo. What makes the series unique is the fact that the author herself was born and raised in Congo and she has the ability to immerse the reader in that amazing land.

The main character of the books is Amanda, an American missionary that arrives in the Belgian Congo to replace the person that used to run the missionary guest house. After arriving there she finds out there are a lot of cultural differences between the Americans and the Belgians, so be prepared to have a laugh while she tries to understand the other cultures.

The books have many layers, so while you enjoy the comical situations the main character gets involved in, you actually get to learn a lot about the diamond industry in the twentieth century and the Congolese culture.

The author, having spent a lot of time in the dark continent herself, does an amazing job of describing the landscape and people. You will be thrilled to read about the fascinating Belgian Congo, with its lovely waterfalls, lush grass and wonderful people.

Every chapter begins with some African factoids you’ll be glad to know, and the main story focuses around colonial Africa. The books a filled with historical and cultural facts that stay with you even a long time after you finish reading. The author perfectly describes the racial, economic, religious and social tensions that come with everyday life. Her insights in the Congolese culture add both depth and humour.

The book thrives in the setting of the clashing cultures. The author delves deep into Congo’s tortured dark past as a colony under the Belgian king Leopold II. She can really transport you in a place where the white colonists have a not so high opinion on the country’s independence, and lets you know what they thought about it.

Amanda, the main character is a perfect mix of strength and naive. She only intends to do the right thing, even if that doesn’t coincide with the opinions of the people around her, either native or colonists. She even has a bad habit of speaking before thinking things through, which will put her in a lot of troublesome, but funny, situations.

The series keep you on edge and don’t give you a clue about the mastermind behind the situations until the very end.

The main character, Amanda Brown, is a 23 year old American. Before crash landing into the small diamond mining community of Belle Vue, she went to Belgium to learn French and the Congolese language of Tshiluba. She is a missionary and comes to Congo to replace the person who used to run the missionary guest house. The naivety of the young is strong with Amanda, and she often finds herself speaking her mind at a bad moment. These scenes will most definitely amuse and entertain you. Equipped with a keen mind and a remarkable attention for details, she tries to do the best thing possible with the help of lifelong Congo dweller and police officer Captain Pierre and her native maid, Cripple.

The book takes place at a time when Congo was struggling to gain its independence and get rid of the colonists. But before they are compelled to leave, the Belgian colonists want to gain as much profit as they can from the African country’s diamond mines. The small town of Belle Vue is situated near a waterfall in the Kasai river and it’s mostly under the influence of a consortium that owns the right to mine in the surrounding area. The social differences between the white Belgian colonists and the black natives are huge, and most of the whites are racist and dictatorial in their relationship with the blacks.

While usually a light and fun read, the author doesn’t miss the opportunity to shock you with descriptions about how every person that doesn’t do good in the mines gets the whip on a daily basis.

The book is full of interesting African trivia about fauna and flora, and the description of the landscape makes you imagine all the things the author is writing about without a struggle.

The author delivers a lot of depth and insight on the social problems of pre-independence Congo, on the racial and religious tensions, the power diamond mining consortiums had on people, and how greed makes people behave in dubious, mindless ways.

The book evokes the land and its people with humour and fondness, and the story has a good, smooth flow.

Although the series is set up as a mystery and explains how greed corrupts everybody involved, the center of it are the characters and their relationships. The series is intriguing and humorous and should not be missed.

You’ll find yourself laughing out loud at times, when the characters, especially Amanda, do something or most likely say something they shouldn’t.

The books have strong, powerful female characters and sets them in a land and at a time when women were not as respected or listened as men were. The cultural differences between the American, the Belgians, and most of all the native people provide an insight at women’s position in society in the years before Congo gained its independence.

You will truly feel that you learn a great deal about the African continent and the Belgian Congo after reading this fascinating series. The information about the people, the animals and the environment of the continent and country make you enjoy the book and learn at the same time.

The mystery is wrapped up pretty good and, even though you get plenty of information about the plot, you can’t make it out until the very end. It will keep you on edge until the finish and you will not want to put the book down.

The story keeps you guessing. Even as you follow the trail of information about the mystery and the discoveries along the way, the series leave a sense of satisfaction once the ending is revealed.

A light, humorous read, it should definitely be on the to-read shelf of every mystery lover. If you have a passion for African culture and people, this is a must read for you.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Belgian Congo Mysteries

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