A Good Man in Africa: A Novel
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In the small African republic of Kinjanja, British diplomat Morgan Leafy bumbles heavily through his job. His love of women, his fondness for drink, and his loathing for the country prove formidable obstacles on his road to any kind of success. But when he becomes an operative in Operation Kingpin and is charged with monitoring the front runner in Kinjanja’s national elections, Morgan senses an opportunity to achieve real professional recognition and, more importantly, reassignment.
After he finds himself being blackmailed, diagnosed with a venereal disease, attempting bribery, and confounded with a dead body, Morgan realizes that very little is going according to plan.
Nkongsamba airport bar. They were unchilled, but you couldn’t have everything. Morgan and Bilbow sat down at a table to wait for the plane which was reputed to be fifty minutes late. They drank their beers and chatted. To his surprise Morgan found he warmed to Bilbow, and discovered him to be a loquacious, wry character and wished he had been able to spend more time in his company. He bought two more beers and told him this. “Yes, I’m sorry I’ve been behaving so mysteriously since you came,”
he would have to feed Fanshawe some doctored story about American or French counter-pressure, but for the moment it would be best to let him carry on believing it was still under way. He left Fanshawe’s office and walked moodily back to his own. On the way he bumped into Jones. “Hello there, Morgan,” said the little Welshman cheerily. “Don’t worry, man. Worse things happen at sea.” “What?” Morgan said, irritation giving an edge to his voice. “Cheer up. You look dreadful.” “Do I?” he said,
demanded impatiently. “I can never get these initials straight.” “The Marxists: People’s Party of Kinjanja, Femi Robinson and his merry band.” He craned his neck to get a view down the drive. “But they’ve all gone home now, more or less.” “That’s something at least,” Fanshawe said ungraciously. “But how about our other problem?” “Innocence? Ah. Yes. I’m afraid not much progress there. I had a couple more undertakers out, but they wouldn’t touch her.” “Damnation,” Fanshawe swore angrily.
ruefully, “what with our demonstration. Did you see it?” “It’s still going on,” she said scornfully, “if you can call it a demonstration. I’ve just come back from town and there are still three of them loitering by the gate. This funny little man with some sort of beard and a huge head of hair shouted at me as I drove in.” They walked towards the house. “He was wearing a black polo-neck and leather gloves. Looked miserably hot.” Morgan was wary about the friendly chatter—she wanted something.
Morgan’s version of events. That, at least, was something. Morgan pushed his uneaten cornflakes to one side and thought about his Christmas Day ahead. First he had to get rid of the decomposing body in his car boot, then dress up as Santa Claus and hand out presents to kids: the contrast seemed ghoulishly obscene. “Here,” Bilbow interrupted his thoughts, “talking about presents, there’s a cracking big ’un arrived for you. It’s in t’sitting room. Bloody heavy it was too.” Lying on the