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RADIO FREE MOMBASA

I sent out this novel, written in 2016 in our rented flat above the Emporium Bookshop in Cromarty, a retired seaport on the edge of the North Sea. No publisher even sniffed at it. Sigh.

Here is a synopsis taste of the novel.  


RADIO FREE MOMBASA SYNOPSIS, by Ewan McVicar

In early 1963 Lachlan Crimfann, a 23 year old bored and frustrated harmonica-playing Glasgow accounts clerk, inherits a record shop in Mombasa which has a resident ghost. He and his widowed mother have a close relationship, his other best friends are old blues records and harmonicas. On a farewell night with a work colleague Lachlan encounters the mobile pirate station Radio Free Scotland in broadcasting action.

Lachlan's voyage out to Kenya on the Rhodesia Castle liner is adventurous. The crusty Old Africa Hands who share his dinner table recount stories of life, humour and absurdities. Lachlan has nothing to contribute until the ship stops in Tangiers and he has an evening in an ex-smugglers pub full of unusual characters.

When the ship goes through the Suez Canal Lachlan takes a rather absurd day trip to Cairo and the Pyramids. The ghost begins to talk with Lachlan, and is eventually revealed as Kitty, a waspish and critical previous owner of the store. In Aden she helps him bargain to buy a tape recorder.

On the voyage Lachlan learns about the Mau Mau Emergency past and the present political climate in Kenya, which is on the run up to independence. He finds a musical pal, raffish University student Ralph. Together they play blues and pop songs, the first time Lachlan has enjoyed performing in public. He gets to grips with life, business and new forms of music in Mombasa, with the help of his Mauritian shop assistant Christiana, his house servant Nathan, and the advice-giving and carping Kitty.

In his shop he finds old radio equipment, and with the help of Kitty, a former Wren radio operator, he and Ralph start a pirate radio station based on the Radio Free Scotland model. Lachlan introduces records using a range of comic personas that he previously only voiced in thought.