Monday, July 30, 2007

Imported from Africa by G. Miki Hayden

If you've read my own blog with care...Go ahead, take your time. I'll still be here... Then you know there are few short mystery fiction writers whose work I admire more than G. Miki Hayden. Her current series character, Miriam Obadah an immigrant to NYC's Harlem from Ghana (is she here legally? she doesn't know. Her husband would never involve her in the male world of legal formalities like that) is a character designed to tug at your heartstrings. Even after living in the US for 35 years, there are many things she can't quite understand about the Americans she meets. Her much younger co-wife, Nana, needs to be looked after, and there is plenty of work to be done around the house and in preparing goods to be sold - she weaves baskets among other things.

In this particular adventure, Miriam retrieves a box from the post office only to find that it has two statues in it - Nothing charming or useful but she isn't sure who sent them to her or why. No difference. When she finds that the artifacts have a tainted provenance, she sets about sleuthing. It is not too long before she has found the intended smuggler, but finding the person and capturing them proves to be two entirely different matters.

As in all the Miriam stories I've had the pleasure to read so far, Miriam's simple view of life and her fear of the giant maw that is NYC adds to her charm. Her humility and her observations on America make her so interesting, I'd read about her even if there were no mystery to solve.

Anyway, enough praise. This story can be found in the September 2007 AHMM. Well worth the read.

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