Medicinal Purposes Only
Peter J Earle
Review: Brian Joss
Dice Modise, the Botswana detective, is back in his second adventure.
In the first book, Hunter’s Venom (reviewed), he sorted out a witchdoctor with a grudge, arrested a killer and rescued an English heiress after she was kidnapped.
This time, Dice gets involved in muti murders and investigates what appears to be a dagga farm where his Zimbabwean girlfriend, Joy Dimbungu, works illegally. Then Joy disappears when she is trafficked back to Bulawayo. It all erupts when a quantity surveyor, Rusty van Vuuren, is murdered and his assistant for the day, Shoswa Samanori, believes it is the work of the devil.
Then an epileptic, who is a familiar figure in Maun where the CID is based, disappears without trace.
Dice is in a race against time to find the witnesses to Van Vuuren’s murder, and this is complicated by his need to keep his relationship with Dimbungu a secret, especially from his boss, Assistant Superintendent Batu Batubangwe.
As Dice gets closer to the killer, he is kidnapped, sending his police colleagues into overdrive looking for him.
The Cahills, Nick, Andy, Rob and Toby, who own a safari company, appear again in Medicinal Purposes Only, as do Dice’s colleague and housemate, Sergeant Modibedi, who makes a mean curry, Dice’s young son, Lebo, and his great-grandmother, the ancient Bontle.
The key to the muti murders is a well-known businessman in Maun. But there is also a traitor in the police camp.
Although Medicinal Purposes Only is a good read, the editing could have been tightened a lot, and, as in Hunter’s Venom, the proofreading leaves a lot to be desired: crutch instead of crotch, knodded for nodded, jamb for jam together and practicing instead of practising. It is irritating indeed. Peter Earle, who lives in the mission village of Haarlem in the Langkloof, near Uniondale, is obviously familiar with Botswana, and is probably busy with his third book featuring Dice Modise.