‘My imagination was caught by a tin heart fastened to a tree in a tiny 1914 – 1918 war cemetery in Marondera, Zimbabwe.’ (‘The Tin Heart Gold Mine’ Ruth Hartley)
A chance discovery in a far-off country by author Ruth Hartley was the perfect starting point for a story involving that deadly combination of love, murder and art. A suspenseful story mainly played out against a backdrop of the Cold War in sub-Saharan Africa, the true character of the major players is gradually revealed as we hold our breath over the fate of Lara and Tim.
Ruth kept us greatly entertained on the Girls Do Coffee show this week on Ex-Pat Radio with fascinating insights into her work as both a writer and an artist and some interesting choices of music (Sebenzesani ma Condom, anyone?). So it came as no surprise to hear that some of the descriptive passages in the book, so accurate that you could practically feel the dust under your feet, were based on Ruth’s own experiences on the African continent. Walking softly through a herd of buffalo so as not to start a stampede and driving through a crowd of rioting students were two such experiences.
Now based in the peaceful Hautes-Pyrénées, Ruth’s love of Africa still runs through her work like a seam in a gold mine. But will the road beckon once more? Ruth says that she is not ruling out trips abroad…she and John intend to visit Africa again quite soon…but somehow I feel sure that Ruth will undertake many more journeys through her writing and her art. Luckily for us, her readers, we can go along for the ride!