* A timely and satirical - yet affectionate - portrait of the ups and downs of life in contemporary Africa
Charity Mupanga is the widowed owner of Harrods International Bar (and Nightspot) - a favourite meeting place for the movers and shakers of Kibera. While she can handle most challenges, from an erratic supply of Worcestershire sauce, the secret ingredient in her cooking, to the political tensions in East Africa's most notorious slum and a cholera outbreak that follows the freak floods in the state of Ubuntu, some threatening letters from London lawyers are beginning to overwhelm her.
Well-meant but inept efforts to foil the lawyers by Edward Furniver, a former fund manager who runs Kibera's co-operative bank and who seeks Charity's hand in marriage, bring Harrods International Bar to the brink of disaster, and Charity close to despair. In the nick of time an accidental riot, triggered by the visit to the slum of World Bank President Hardwick Hardwicke, coupled with some quick thinking by Titus Ntoto, the 14-year-old leader of Kibera's toughest gang, the Mboya Boys United Football Club, help Charity - and Harrods - to triumph in the end.
** 'A highly entertaining account of how people make the best of living in sub-Saharan Africa - Alexander McCall Smith, THE HERALD Books of the Year
** 'Some devastatingly hilarious moments ... a satire that should be required bedtime reading at Gleneagles - SCOTSMAN
** 'This wickedly satirical novel is also a serious critique of Africa's troubled state - GUARDIAN
** 'Jolly good fun - DAILY MAIL
Michael Holman grew up in the town of Gwelo in Zimbabwe, at a time when the country was still known as Rhodesia. After gaining degrees from the University of Rhodesia and Edinburgh University, he became a journalist, working in London and Zimbabwe, before being forced, due to his outspoken opposition to Ian Smith's minority rule government, to flee to Lusaka. He lived and worked in Zambia as a Financial Times Africa correspondent from 1977 to 1984, when he came to Britain permanently to take up the role of Africa Editor at the Financial Times. He retired in 2002 but still travels frequently to Africa and writes occasional columns for the FT and Times online. His first novel, Last Orders at Harrods, will be published by Abacus in 2007, and he is currently at work on his second. He lives in east London.