The first in the Dr. Mary Finney quartet World War II is raging, but in this dusty backwater of the Belgian Congo the most pressing problem is finding a cold beer. That’s the case at least for Hooper Taliaferro, a genial U.S. government flunkey sent to Africa on a vague errand related to the war effort. What he finds at the failing Congo-Ruizi plantation won’t help the Allies much. Like colonialism itself, the owner is dying of a slow poison, and neither his bitter, round-heeled wife nor the plantation’s manager, drowning in booze and mysterious guilt, can muster the energy to care. But along with Hooper arrives Dr. Mary Finney, a formidable missionary with both moral outrage and sleuthing skills to spare. A cross between Chekhov and Agatha Christie, Devil in the Bush introduces Dr. Finney as a sort of blunt-spoken Yankee Miss Marple, with likeable, lightweight Hooper – the series narrator – standing by as her faithful scribe.