The author's latest is less a detective story than the compelling journal of a trip from Kenya to Ethiopa--blithely undertaken, in 1974, by romantic young wardrobe-assistant Fay Jassahn, after the making of a movie in Nairobi. Restless, reluctant to return to England, fond parents, and staid boyfriend Tony, and with a budding interest in the Rift Valley fueled by reading T.E. Lawrence, Fay invests her savings in a used car and agrees to do several favors along her route--one of which is delivery of a letter to a Nastasia Beyer at American Express in Addis Ababa. Meanwhile, Fay finds crossing the border into Ethiopia akin to moving backwards in time--with impassable roads that make Fay's car unusable; maps that lie; sporadic unscheduled transport from one hot, dusty town to another; vermin-infested mud huts to sleep in; food eaten as the only alternative to starvation. And hanging over all is the tension of brewing revolution--and the unnerving experience of everywhere being the center of derisive, unwanted attention. Joined off and on by Englishman Graham Fletcher and an Australian named Mel, who seem oddly interested in her letter for Nastasia, Fay wants only to return to Kenya--a trip as fraught with misery as the aborted attempt to reach Addis, made worse by finding that Nastasia hadn't reached that goal either. Even Nairobi, as she waits for a plane seat home, is full of danger--until resourceful Fay figures out what's going on and how to get herself off the hook. A solid cut above Cody's Anna Lee series (Stalken, etc.), this one is fresh, original, and spellbinding. A winner.