Gone to Timbuctoo (1962)

In John's debut novel: "not a tooth is knocked out, not a kidney bashed in… an outstanding thriller that rests on less obvious grounds. The characters are odd but rarely violent. Their aims are bizarre and their methods usually unorthodox. Their story is one of strange and constantly maintained suspense, based on a journey from Dakar to the River Niger and up through the remotest part of West Africa to Timbuctoo. The writing is witty and urbane, and the result is a thriller with all the vividness and authenticity of a sinister travel guide."

First published: 1962 (Collins)

FUN FACT: Winner of the Author's Club First Novel Award. John returned from Timbuctoo with a long black beard and a white fez. His children didn't recognise him!

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