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Reviewed by Natalie Soine for Readers' Favorite
The Diamond Escape by Sheila Bitts begins at a platinum mine in Marikana, near Johannesburg, starting in August 2012. In a series of events, miners and drillers were on strike for higher wages as the Mine and Construction Workers Union staged a rally. Unbeknownst to American Investigative Journalist Alain, his friend and photojournalist, Jim Harbor was up to some shady operations involving stealing unpolished diamonds. Later, those same stones became the Cacaw necklace owned by philanthropist Leon Velon Davenport of Designs Gallery. Leon later loaned it to the Chicago Field Museum. Two years later that $11-million diamond necklace was stolen from the Field Museum. That's when he hired Private Detective Frederick (Alain) Falloy to investigate the case of the missing Cacaw diamonds under the watchful eye of experienced homicide officer Phillip Grable. Widow Gail Lynn Fayette of Davenport Designs Gallery assists in the investigation and has exclusive knowledge of the case. Frederick must navigate the variety of possible suspects and circumstances surrounding the theft of the necklace, putting his skills and experience to the ultimate test.
As a South African, I found The Diamond Escape particularly interesting. Sheila Bitts created a remarkable story around the Marikana event and certainly has a vivid imagination. I enjoyed the originality of the plot and the fast pace. There are many interesting characters from past to present who all make the story more exciting and believable. The scenes are well-described, including the museum, which does exist and includes a what-if scenario. Sheila also added a few twists and turns that all keep the reader interested. I look forward to reading more books by this incredible author and am giving this tale a well-deserved five stars.