Those Who Love Night
Review: When South African government attorney Abigail Bukula ruffles more than a few political feathers after her department is reorganized, she is put on paid administrative leave, allowing her the opportunity to travel to neighboring Zimbabwe, where she once lived and where her cousin is rumored to be unlawfully imprisoned, in Those Who Love Night, the disappointing second mystery in this series by Wessel Ebersohn.
Krisj Patel is the attorney representing the relatives of seven Zimbabwean dissidents, who are now missing and believed to have been rounded up and taken by the country's Central Intelligence Organization to a secure prison, without benefit of a trial or legal representation. Krisj knows he's in well over his head, and calls upon Abigail for assistance, believing she will want to help when she learns one of the dissidents is her cousin, Tony Makumbe. Though Abigail insists she has no such relative, she has time on her hands and is willing to see what, if anything, she can do to help.
Abigail has another reason for leaving the country. She believes her husband Robert is having an affair, and feels it prudent to put some distance between them for the time being, while she sorts out her feelings. Of course, once in Zimbabwe she finds herself attracted to a man, and not just any man, but a powerful director of the CIO. It is this romantic triangle — it's actually more geometrically complicated than this, as the wife of Abigail's mentor, Yudel Gordon, thinks she's having an affair with him — subplot that seems to take up much of the first half of Those Who Love Night, if not in actual number of words then certainly in terms of narrative train. And from this perspective, it's a slow start to this really rather thinly plotted mystery. Not that the pace ever picks up much, but at least the second half is more focused on Abigail's efforts to free Tony.
Those Who Love Night offers a glimpse at what life is like for those living in Zimbabwe, the corruption of government officials and the daily struggle for food and other basic needs by its citizens. But as a mystery — one that leans more towards novel of suspense than whodunit or whydunit, the latter being obvious to most readers well before it's revealed at the end — it's not very interesting or compelling, in sharp contrast to the previous book in this series, The October Killings, a book we called "captivating and enriching."
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Those Who Love Night for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The October Killings
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), January 2011
ISBN-13: 9780312655952; ISBN-10: 0312655959
Location(s) referenced in Those Who Love Night: Zimbabwe
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Those Who Love Night by Wessel Ebersohn — An Abigail Bukula Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: January 2012
List Price: $24.99