THE THIEVES OF TUMBUTU by Harris Greene

THE THIEVES OF TUMBUTU

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

At first glance this Inspector General semi-farce is a long haul from the author's two more serious novels however, among the laugh lines there is a grimace of some painful truths anent international disorders. Poor Bill Sibley, plagued by the relentless insistence of his wife's financial-status demands, is also saddled with the tiny island Sheikdom of Aragosta, asserting its miserable presence off the coast of Africa. Sibley is Desk Officer at the State Department for Aragosta, and a mere cipher, until all hell breaks loose on the mildewing isle. Seems that a Bantu uprising against the Arab overlords is in the making, and an American space tracking station is in jeopardy. Predictably the condominium participants (Aragosta was once Italy's, then Britain's) rally round and Russians, busy Chinese, rehearse their stances--all manipulating, exhorting, hating the dreary outpost. After many hilarious conferences, international buck-and-wings, and a pair of randy Sheiks who ride off, Sibley arrives to find spears in the air. Fortunately, in America, Sibley had become acquainted with King Mookka, at the time working in a gas station, and it is the friendship of the giant Bantu (a hastily worked-out miracle involving an elephant) which saves the space station. American lives, and earns Sibley a decoration. Although the trumped-up solution carries no weight, and the Bantu banter is not convincing, Mr. Greene has assembled a wickedly amusing group of characters, manufactures some witty dialogue and situations, and points some poisoned arrows at Foggy Bottom. International bellicosity with a bite.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Doubleday