My name is Basil. That is my mission name. No one knows my real name. I was left on the steps of Mission Somolet when I was a baby. Now I am ten. Somolet is in west Kenya. Someday, I will go to Nairobi, far to the east. I will be a great detective.
Before Owen Keane came, my days were all the same. I went to the school run by the mission priest, Father Philip, a good man, and his helper, Daniel. I hoed the garden for Ruth, the cook, and swept the verandah for Etta, the housekeeper. And I explored. No one knows Somolet as well as I do. No one knows the Nihuru Valley as well as I do. Not Chief Constable Mwarai. Not Dr. Brocious, who gives me shots. Not Mrs. Chesney, the great lady, who has a dog as big as a young lion. I like her dog. I do not like her bees. Not even Chief Wamba, father of all the Nihuru, knows the valley as I do. I have been as far as the great forest. That was on the night Daniel ran away.
All the trouble began then. Strangers came to Somolet. One was Mugo, another kind of priest, a priest of the trees. Then came Wauki, who had been dead and was now alive again. After him came the land raiders, attacking shambas—farms—beyond the village. Last to come was Owen Keane, a great man from America.
I will tell you of Owen Keane. His skin is very pale and his hair is gray. He is tall, far taller than Father Philip, but almost as thin. His eyes are sad, even when he smiles. He is a detective. A detective is someone who finds out secrets. I think the secrets he has learned have made Owen Keane sad. He once studied to be a priest, like Father Philip. He became a detective instead. Someday, I will be a detective in Nairobi.
Owen Keane is a man you must look at twice to know. I thought at first that he was another baby left on the steps of the mission. He could not speak Nihuru. He could not follow a trail. He did not even know to watch for snakes in the road. I thought I had to lead him by the hand to keep him safe. That was before I looked at him a second time. Then I knew he was leading me by the hand.
Owen Keane came to find the Sword of Wauki, the sword that was Wauki’s before he died the first time. When he died the second time, the sword was forgotten. School was forgotten and the garden and the verandah. No day was the same for me then. No day will ever be the same.
You can read more about Basil in Eastward In Eden, the ninth book in the “Owen Keane” mystery series, published by Mystery Company. The first book in the series is Deadstick.
Meet the author
Terence Faherty is the author of two mystery series. The “Owen Keane” series, which follows the adventures of a failed seminarian turned metaphysical detective, has been nominated twice for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award. The “Scott Elliott” private eye series is set in the golden age of Hollywood and is a two-time winner of the Shamus Award, given by the Private Eye Writers of America. His short fiction, which appears regularly in mystery magazines and anthologies, has won the Macavity Award from Mystery Readers International. His work has been reissued in the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, and Germany.
Terry lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife Jan.
You can visit Terry at his website.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.