This week I’m hosting author, Peggy Hanson.
Peggy Hanson is an author and travel blogger who loves to share her international life with her readers. Peace Corps,Voice of America, teaching of English–all these have played major roles in her life. Growing up in a series of small towns in Colorado, the daughter of a mountain-climbing Congregational minister and teacher, probably helped mold her affinity to nomadism. In her adult life, she’s lived for extended periods in Turkey, Yemen, India and Indonesia. Her first two books are mysteries in the Elizabeth Darcy series set in other countries: DEADLINE ISTANBUL and DEADLINE YEMEN. She is currently working on the third in that series, DEADLINE INDONESIA, and is also compiling and editing her great aunt Mary’s diaries and letters and pictures from 1888-1920 when she was a missionary teacher and principal in the Balkans. The working title of the diaries is MISS MATTHEWS OF MACEDONIA. or UNHOLY DEATH ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. It is a story of early feminism and a woman’s bravery in the face of war.
In the past, Peggy has contributed travel articles to magazines in India. Recently she has started travel blogging forjourneywoman.com and travelgogirl.com. Her most recent blog is entitled THE TURKISH DELIGHTS: Women to Travel With, Women to Love.
When time permits, Peggy leads groups of friends to Turkey. And she travels with her economist husband and with a group of close friends who call themselves The Delights. Read the blog on travelgogirl.com to learn more about that group of amazing women! Peggy lives near Washington D.C. with her husband and two energetic kittens.
Called to Yemen to help her old friend Halima, correspondent Elizabeth Darcy combines work with the chance to repay an old debt. But the narrow, mysterious streets are populated with armed men and veiled women; who can tell friend from foe? Her first priority is to help Halima’s young brother Ali, who has become involved with religious extremists. But murder dogs her footsteps, and she is under police surveillance. Abducted along her investigative trail, Elizabeth is drawn into the terrorists’ web. She must work with two men—one Yemeni, one British—who are on a mission of their own. What are their plans? And why have they all ended up in the remote Hadhramaut wadi where the Incense Road once began? Elizabeth pieces together the plot, hoping she’s in time to save Halima and Ali. But can she save herself as well?
Here is an excerpt:
The perpetual charm of Arabia is that the traveler finds his level there simply as a human being. Freya Stark, A Winter in Arabia 1997
It’s a myth that a woman needs a male escort in the Middle East. My taxi driver treated me just as he would any man: he tried to cheat me.
“Fifty riyals?” I asked in mock amazement, leaning into the window. “I won’t pay more than thirty.” My Arabic was rough but, within these parameters, understandable.
The driver I’d selected from the line of jalopies adjusted his loose turban, shifted his wad of qat to one side of his mouth, spat green juice onto the ground and gestured for me to get in—a magnanimous act of compromise on the price. He didn’t offer to help me, so I pushed my carry-on into the front seat and crawled into the plastic-covered back seat. The dashboard had fake fur all over it and looked like a poor ragged animal that had had a hard winter. Egyptian music whined from the radio. I didn’t even look for a seat belt.
The e-mail had arrived in the Trib newsroom in Washington three days earlier. Its heading said, “from Halima in Sana’a.” The message itself was spare: “Come. Please.”
Halima is not the sort to exaggerate. Given the debt I owed her—in truth, my life—my reaction was intense and personal. And here I was.
I’d had a companionable chat on the plane with a charming international type who said his name was Michael Petrovich, so I hadn’t expected to be taking a taxi alone in the middle of the night. I’d thought I’d be dropped off at the hotel in gentlemanly fashion. But plane relationships often don’t last past the luggage carousel, and this one was no different.
He’d turned to me as we watched the line of shabby bags squeak past, stuck out his hand, and with an ambiguous look in his eyes, said, “Elizabeth, this has been a pleasure. More than you can know. I hope to see you again in Sana’a. I’m being picked up for a meeting. Will you be all right?” Petrovich’s gray eyes looked regretful through the haze from passengers lighting up after the flight.
Meeting at midnight?
“Of course!” I laughed. “I’m fine.”
I picked up my carry-on and marched out into chill desert mountain air to the row of jalopies at the taxi stand while he still waited for his luggage. I travel light and unencumbered. The man from the front seat of the plane, the quiet one with khaki pants and a laptop who’d watched as Petrovich and I had walked up and down the plane at the Cairo stop, stood at the baggage carousel waiting for his luggage, too. I’d nodded briskly and felt his gaze follow me.
“Peggy Hanson’s Deadline Yemen is terrific. She brilliantly captures its mystery and its fascination, and yes, its dangers as well. I know—I’ve been there.” – Charles Todd, author of the Ian Rutledge Mysteries and the Bess Crawford mysteries.
“I love learning something new when I read fiction, and Deadline Yemen fills the bill. This is more than a compelling mystery. It’s an education about a place filled with complications, paradox, conflict and deep beauty. In short, this book is a treasure.” – Anne Hillerman, author of Spider Woman’s Daughter, a Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee mystery.