William Boyd's GOOD MAN IN AFRICA meets Graham Greene's DR. FISCHER OF GENEVA - an unsettling black comedy, set on an island run by the world's most despicable dictator. The world's cruellest despot is dying of cancer. His People's Republic of New Carabaldi cannot treat him; after Pinochet he's too terrified to go to Britain. His only chance of finding a safe hospital bed is to do a deal with the French, who govern the other half of his idyllic Caribbean island. Together with his psychotic South African security chief, Van der Pump, President General Alphonse Belizon invites his neighbours to dinner - at the dilapidated hotel L'Auberge des Anglais, on the French side, which boasts the finest cuisine in the Caribbean. Run by the lazy Gaston and his fearsome wife Magali (the genius in the kitchen), the hotel has its own array of oddities, all of whom have reason to be appalled at the prospect of El Presidente being parachuted into their midst. But into this turbulent mixture he descends, wracked by illness, surrounded by bodyguards and revelling in his notoriety. The kitchen cauldrons boil, the guests assemble, the dinner is served.
But amongst the many courses it appears that assassination might be one of many dishes on the menu.
Christopher Wilkins was born in Oxford in 1945, and read English at Kings College, Cambridge. For many years he worked in advertising. He lives in rural seclusion in the south of England.