Mystery in Harare: Priscilla's Journey into Southern Africa
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About the Author
The South Carolina native grew up in the Snowbelt of western New York and currently resides in North Carolina.
She earned her doctorate in political science from the Ohio State University, has served as a legislative aide in the Ohio Senate, operated a PR firm, and taught political science for over thirty years, and she travels extensively-all of which plays prominently in the Priscilla Series.
The author found her passion for writing fiction somewhat late in her life and has been writing mostly mysteries and thrillers since 1999.
She is affiliated with the African Literature Association, the Chanticleer Authors' Conference, the North Carolina Writers' Network, and the Women's National Book Association.
Apart from writing novels about professional women with agency, she enjoys all-things-books, traveling, and working in her yard.
"In M. J. Simms-Maddox's atmospheric thriller, Mystery in Harare, a former legislative aide's wedding day turns deadly.
Priscilla is plunged into the murky and precarious world of the oppressive Apartheid regime in South Africa. How and why? Readers must discover for themselves. Yet, Priscilla's endurance is tested repeatedly.
...A thoughtful and compulsively readable story with a beguiling beginning. The author aptly displays the toughness of the Southern part of Africa and its vibrancy and fluidity, capturing this duality and melding it with the political atmosphere in America during the 1980s. The book has obvious relevance to actual historical events. Exceptionally well-drawn characters and a creatively imagined plot give it a resonant and all-embracing echo.
Beautifully evoked African settings and accompanying descriptions make this stand out in cerebral mysteries. Readers careen down the path with Priscilla in all her experiences. Indeed, Priscilla has a formidable spirit and charisma that will appeal to many.
Mystery in Harare is a successful terrorism thriller novel and an excellent place to understand the underbelly of Apartheid in South Africa. First Place in the CIBAs 2019 Mystery & Mayhem Book Awards and comes highly recommended. Lily Amanda, Reviewer
"M. J. Simms-Maddox is an excellent writer. There is a Maqoma in (her)." THEMBA NGABA, Amava Heritage Publishing, Ltd.
"After having had the privilege and opportunity to read the manuscript before it was published, I have no doubt that this book, part of a trilogy, has broken new ground. Professor M.J. Simms-Maddox is a courageous and talented author... Mystery in Harare is a thriller demonstrating the wit and skill in which Simms-Maddox carefully crafts, reflecting Priscilla's leading role in what could be described as mission impossible since the issue of Apartheid South Africa has always been sensitive." VIRGINIA PHIRI of Zimbabwe Women Writers.
"Mystery in Harare and her first book, Priscilla Engaging in the Game of Politics, indicate that it is time to come forth with stories that have not yet been told and introduce new heroines, too. Consider, for example, the scene inside the platinum mine when the PAC sympathizer holds his grip on the neck of the bad guy and stares into Priscilla's eyes as if telling her that it is left to her to tell the story about his people's predicament to the rest of the world." MICHAEL D. CONNOR, actor, director, writer, and retired theater professor, Livingstone College.
"Politics and faith are prevalent throughout the novel, diversity, and lots of symbolism ... all senses are used. I was particularly impressed with the relationships between the different people in Priscilla's life, such as her support network, and how that reflects on the larger scheme of things over the past thirty years and how all of that reflects life today. Very descriptive, such as the scene at the governor's mansion when Priscilla wears an outfit that is not typical of what the other women wear. That shows her sense of self-worth and her humility." KAREN K. ALEXANDER, KKA Architects and Mayor, City of Salisbury.
"The novel reflects how the political decisions we make here in America impact the lives of people in other places in the world." OBAFEMI BALOGUN, Professor of Business Administration, Livingstone College.
"Simms-Maddox writes so well. I'm right there. She brings the animals and the people alive and makes the readers feel a strong presence in each scene. Her writing enlightens readers. Priscilla's strength grows with each encounter; so, too, does that of the other women in the story. I particularly like her use of the Book of Judges." HELEN TURNER, retired Director of the Reading Center, Livingstone College.