Hari's Reviews

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Sanders of the River by Edgar Wallace

Created: Mon Mar 22 17:02:48 2010 | Last modified: Mon Mar 22 17:02:48 2010

Rating: ********--

Sanders of the River

Edgar Wallace is pretty much known as a crime fiction author, but he has also written a series of humourous books of short stories about British colonial rule in West Africa.

Having been in South Africa as a Boer war correspondent and later as an investigative journalist in Belgian Congo to probe into alleged "atrocities", Wallace brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about Africa in these books.

Sanders is a Commissioner in British West Africa and his duty is to keep the peace and the natives happy. These stories explore the funny side of ruling a native colony. What follows is a series of entertaining short stories involving witch doctors, native superstition and jujus and of course, rebellion. Sanders must deal with an iron hand and quell all opposition to the British rule. With characters like Bosambo, the Chief of the Ochori, who speaks in "Coast English" and moreover, is convent educated, Lieutenant Tibbets of the Houssas or "Bones" are he is nicknamed by his superior officer captain Hamilton, the series is filled with laughter.

Some of the concepts may be outdated and some terms used by Edgar Wallace may be politically incorrect these days. But in all fairness, this book was written way back in the 1920s and 30s. The humour is very natural. Edgar Wallace is pretty good at evoking laughter as for example, when a native speaks in "Coast English". Bones also is one funny character and he always manages to exasperate his senior, Hamilton. Edgar Wallace realises the strength of characters such as Hamilton, Bones and Bosambo and he builds on them as the series progresses.

Edgar Wallace's writing style may be pretty disconcerting for a new reader, but once you persist, you will learn to enjoy his books.

These books lighten up a rainy day! Much recommended, though difficult to find prints nowadays. Available via Amazon, though some titles may be missing.

Publisher: House of Stratus

Some of the titles (not necessarily in order)

There are other books of Sanders which Edgar Wallace has written, but those books are currently not in print. Even some of these books listed here may be difficult to find.

Rated 5/5. If you can get a copy of these books, then do so quickly!