Treachery in the Yard: A Nigerian Thriller
by Adimchinma Ibe
Cover Artist: Photo: Delondiny; Burned paper, iStockphoto / Paul Paladin.
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312585938
Date: 03 August 2010 List Price $22.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Homicide Detective Tamunoemi "Tammy" Peterside of Port Harcourt, Nigeria investigates an explosion that destroys the home of wealthy Pius Okpara who is a candidate in the heated race for Governor of Rivers State; the explosion kills two servants and seriously injures three others. Judge Kiribi's wife, Naomi, is a crucial witness. Soon afterwards, she and her maid, Miriam, are found bludgeoned to death in the kitchen. As Tammy and his partner Olufemi "Femi" Adegbola probe deeper into the bombing, they uncover a vast conspiracy of corrupt police officers, lawyers and politicians. A bloodbath ensues when those connected to the explosion are systematically murdered.
If you are craving a fast-paced crime drama with a high body count and an exotic locale, Treachery in the Yard is perfect. Written by Nigerian native Adimchinma Ibe, this highly intriguing debut reads like an extremely violent young adult novel. Except for its long list of characters with difficult-to-pronounce names, Treachery in the Yard is a relatively easy read. Unable to lay it aside, I read it in one day; it is perfect for taking on vacation when one has to wait hours at airports for connecting flights. A novel of corruption, Treachery in the Yard is quite disturbing. One wonders how widespread corruption exists in Nigeria and other African countries.
Tammy Peterside is the novel's admirable protagonist. He is an honest detective in Port Harcourt. Refusing to take bribes to supplement his meager income, Tammy was once asked by his father why he bothered becoming a police officer. (His parents weren't happy about his career choice.) Consumed by his work, he won't make a commitment to his beautiful, long-term girlfriend, Freda Agboke, who works for Mercury Insurance Company. Eager to get married, Freda is growing increasingly frustrated and impatient. Tammy's only other character flaw that disturbs me, besides his inability to commit, is his bending of the laws. For example, he enters a suspect's apartment without a search warrant. After rendering the suspect unconscious, Tammy and Femi concoct a story that they were attacked at the front door.
Port Harcourt, Nigeria is an interesting setting for Treachery in the Yard. It is a terribly hot, grimy city with a high unemployment rate and a high crime rate. When driving, one must dodge the huge potholes and piles of garbage in the streets. Tammy keeps bottles of water in his car to combat the stifling, oppressive tropical heat. Air conditioning is a luxury; however, electricity outages are frequent; one must sometimes pay a bribe to get it turned back on. Corruption is widespread, touching all social structures. It seems that bribes must be paid in order to get anything accomplished in Port Harcourt.
Treachery in the Yard is highly recommended for those who love violent crime noir. Now, thanks to talented writer Adimchinma Ibe, we have a new series that is set in the African nation of Nigeria. I look forward to reading further adventures of Homicide Detective Tammy Peterside. If crime dramas involving corrupt police officers and evil mobsters are your cup of tea, then I recommend Thomas Kaufman's Drink the Tea: A Mystery, Wallace Stroby's Gone 'til November, Daniel Judson's The Violet Hour and Russell D. McLean's The Good Son.