Chrissie Docherty returns to the southern Africa of her childhood and tracks down Evelyn Fielding, the woman at the centre of an explosive scandal involving a traditional colonial officer and a gifted black African artist. Together, the two women uncover the secrets that shattered a remote expatriate outpost in the Zambian bush in the 1970s.
Switching deftly between the 1990s and the recent past, and set against a background of tense post-colonial race relations, political turmoil and witchcraft, Looking for Evelyn powerfully evokes the very special colours, sounds and smells of Africa.
Out now (June 2017) from Saraband. Buy from Amazon.
You can see, taste and feel the dusty red roads of the South African bush in this rich, evocative exploration of love, jealousy and betrayal in post-colonial Zambia in the 1970s. Ritchie’s eye for detail sweeps through this story of marital turmoil in a time of political unrest. Her characters push against the boundaries of what it means to be a white woman in love with a black man in the years after the country’s independence. The interplay of viewing the violent consequences of this affair through the eyes of the adulterer and a child witness is a clever device, handled with ease by Ritchie. I can only imagine she must have experience of living in Africa given the vibrant descriptions of the land, cultures and superstitions that pervade this tale of passion and what it means to fall in love with a country that is not your own.
Jackie Copleton, author of A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding
Set against the vivid backdrop of Africa, Looking for Evelyn is the compelling tale of a young woman returning to her childhood home to confront her past.
Sarah Maine, author of Between the Tides
A scintillating jewel of a novel: Ritchie’s dreamlike Zambian landscape explodes with the nightmarish secrets of the past. I was seduced by the sultry, dreamlike colours of Africa; hooked by the insistent drumbeat of menace that pulses through the novel.
Sandra Ireland, author of Beneath the Skin
Smooth prose and a dramatic story make Maggie Ritchie’s second novel a great read. The interweaving of narratives provides richness to this world of personal and political struggle.
Elizabeth Reeder, author of Ramshackle
I love journalists as protagonists in any kind of thriller, and Chrissie is a brilliant character. The setting is beautifully evoked and the story is gripping and thought-provoking. Richly atmospheric and blistering with tension, Looking for Evelyn is a perfect holiday read.
Zoe Strachan, author of Ever Fallen in Love
This is such a wonderful, mesmerising story, full of love and longing. As Chrissie unearths her African childhood and its long-forgotten secrets, she discovers who she was meant to become. A sweeping, romantic and very compelling read.
Carmen Reid, author of How was it for You?