The Errant Petty Officer
By Miro Ringbolt
1981. On a vacation dive off the coast of Kenya, Petty Officer Patrick Redman discovers a jeweled pendant stuck in the reef. Back upon the surface, though, tragedy strikes and, Jurgen, one of his friends, dies. Weeks later, the police learn of the pendant and arrest the owner of the dive and charter business, Stella, and Thomas, an associate for murder. Redman, meanwhile, is discharged from service for narcotics. When he learns that his friends are trial for their lives, he makes plans to return to Kenya to prove their innocence.
Not quite the plot I was expecting but an intriguing little mystery nonetheless. It’s a straightforward plot with some adventure, danger, and courtroom drama all thrown in.
Patrick Redman: British, Petty officer, mother dead, father estranged, atheist
Jurgen Kluge: grew up in Switzerland, 6’7”, muscular, shoulder length blond hair
Ayo: black, Maasi, tall, broad
Thomas Dennie: from St. Vincent, dreadlocks, smokes marijuana, wiry, thin, short
Adhra: 38, Thomas’s girlfriend, black African, large almond colored eyes, father murdered, works for a land developer
Stella Friedmann: German, mid thirties, brown hair, blue eyes, tattoo on lower back, used to be a finance administrator
Lisbeth: Stella’s cousin, tall, slender-limbed, freckles, pale, 20s, green eyes, bisexual
Meja Njenga: Professor at Nairobi University, thin frizzy hair, around 60, has a doctorate
Nyoro Gacoya: 55, African, killer, slim build
A fine variety of characters with a lot of minor characters who play their own roles.
Voices come through very well. Thomas and his Caribbean accent, many of the African and Great Britain accents as well.
Chapters are titled. Lengthy chapters. Profanity. Author exhibits his knowledge of diving, ships and the sea.
This is a lengthy drawn out book with many scenes that probably could have been deleted. Let me clarify, I’m not saying they weren’t good scenes. In fact, I didn’t dislike any of them. I felt, however, that some of them could have either been shortened, tightened up, or outright deleted because they didn’t offer anything to the main plot. Thomas and his prison problems, for instance. They were okay and I was able to see the troubles he had and how he solved them, but they didn’t help move the story along. Just plan to spend some time reading this. I received a PDF file and it contained 565 pages. It’s a good story. I expected an Indiana Jones type of adventure what with the ancient pendant found, but it turned into a mystery/courtroom battle/drama type. A few minor mistakes in punctuation but otherwise from the ocean to the African savannah, a solid piece of writing.