Tebogo and Uriah Heep (2018)
By Omoseye Bolaji
Published by Eselby Jnr Publications (South Africa)
ISBN 978 – 0 – 620 – 79380 – 3
Review by Leke Giwa
What a thrill it is to see a new Tebogo Mystery book after waiting for years! I just could not put the novella aside and I read it straightaway without pausing, and refusing to be distracted or disturbed in any way. I have many impressions on the new work, but a few comments will suffice here.
In Tebogo and Uriah Heep, Tebogo meets Biggie again, and it is Biggie who directly and/or indirectly sparks off this story. The first chapter is magnificent as we share the grief of "Bra Uriah”. Biggie and Tebogo are perturbed and can empathize with the pathos and melodrama right from the beginning. Biggie, the “classical” man as it were, had appeared in earlier Tebogo books like Tebogo and the epithalamion, and Tebogo and the Bacchae.
Also it struck me that Tebogo the sleuth must have a very pleasant character, at least on the surface! Note how everybody seems to warm to him in all the adventures, take him into their confidences, male and female. In earlier works like Tebogo Fails and Ask Tebogo, we see that even the young ones feel very much at ease with Tebogo. And this is very much the case in this new adventure, where a young girl actually points Tebogo to the solution of the mystery.
Now, come to think of it, it is a bit eerie, isn’t it? The fact that Tebogo has so much charisma but this is never (?) actually stated in any of the books. Probably because most of the adventures are written in the first person - like this new installment. And our Tebogo is so modest and self-deprecating, hence we overlook the fact that somehow he has incredible charisma. Virtually everybody he meets feel like being his friend, women vouchsafe information to him with smiles and subterranean currents of chemistry. It is very much the same here in Tebogo and Uriah Heep.
And even when Tebogo is supposed to be inebriated, or at watering holes he is never repulsive or objectionable – on the contrary that is when he seems to be at his most charming. One remembers he drank like a fish in the beginning of Tebogo and the pantophagist…but he is never far from a drink. This often facilitates a swift entry and acceptance into the communities which he suddenly swoops on. Read the chapter titled “Calamity House” here.
And Tebogo is a master conversationalist, as we see yet again in this new adventure. He never becomes crude, and even the penchant for being loquacious never matters as people gell at shebeens or taverns. Somehow Tebogo combines a mixture of being a breath of fresh air, being a fine gentleman, handling his drink well, etc – it is a cocktail that often spurs Tebogo into success…but how effortlessly the author pulls it off time and again!
Many readers often wonder: is Tebogo the sleuth an alter ego of the founder and author of the works (ie Omoseye Bolaji, above)? I feel that the answer to this would be a bit complicated, and I won’t dwell on that here….Finally, let me just point out that the author adds a touch of modernity (a modern craze) as the work tapers to an end. Let me quote the relevant portion here:
“…I laughed, and nodded. Who could refuse money these days? I felt a bit of cramp and stood up, walking along the pavements, as it were. Then I saw a group of young men and women, suddenly immobile and “frozen”. A white man beside me saw my reaction and smiled.
“What’s going on here?” I said.
“The Mannequin Challenge.” He replied.
“What is that?” I asked, feeling like an old man.
He laughed. "Used to be very popular in recent times, especially overseas. Sort of weird posturing, ‘freezing’…and with selfies often used in the process…the world has moved on…” he guffawed again... "
A fine, new Tebogo Adventure!
The Tebogo Mystery books over the years
Tebogo Investigates (2000)
Tebogo's spot of bother (2001)
Tebogo Fails (2003)
Ask Tebogo (2004)
Tebogo and the Haka (2008)
Tebogo and the epithalamion (2009)
Tebogo and the pantophagist (2010)
Tebogo and the Bacchae (2012).