Vitabu Reads | A Pillar of the Community
Two weeks later it was Easter Sunday. The atmosphere suited Jedi’s mood even more, for the whole church was decorated with flowers and buntings in happy celebration of Christ’s glorious resurrection and triumph over the forces of Satan, sin, death, and hell. Jedi felt he, too, had triumphed over the forces of evil that had sought to destroy him. He, like Christ, could be said to have trodden the forces of Satan underfoot and to hold the keys of death…So he sang the Easter hymns with as much joy and fervor as though they had been written specifically for him.
Little did Jedidiah Thomas know his victory celebration that Easter Sunday was premature. Moral hypocrisy is what ultimately bring about his downfall.
When we first meet the 49-year-old Jedidiah on the balcony of his five-year-old mansion he fondly calls 'My Repose,' Jedi enjoyed a very powerful position as Permanent Secretary in the civil service. He was also serving as a People’s Warden in his home church, and had been recognized as an “Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the Rokel” (O.R.) by the president of Sierra Leone.
As a result, Jedidiah Thomas, B. Sc., O.R. overestimated his own limits. Jedi’s character suffered so much from hubris that he violated moral codes.
When 16-year-old Emma Smith dies in his bed after a bout of torrid sex, Jedi’s first thought was to hide his peccadilloes. He only liked girls who were still in gym-slips; no more than fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen.
Worried that a dead girl in his bed would only bring down his chances of becoming Grand Master of his Masons Lodge and scupper his re-election as People’s Warden, Jedi decides to “deal with the situation in his “usual courageous, forceful and decisive manner.”
Jedi was so proud of his logical conclusion he “mentally congratulated himself on the excellence of his house’s design, which allowed him” take the body downstairs and put it into the trunk of his car without anyone seeing him. The long thick creepers in deep gullies along Freetown’s Peninsula Road offered him a web of places to hide Emma’s body.
Although mildly surprised at just how little hue and cry there had been over the disappearance of a schoolgirl, Jedi’s life soon settled down to its usual serene and unruffled pattern. No one had linked Emma’s disappearance to Jedidiah Thomas, a pillar of the community.
Jedi lived under that delusion for two weeks.
Then one day the phone rang, while he was sitting on his verandah at My Repose with friends, who had come to discuss church matters.
For several months after that phone call, Jedi tried to keep from going under. In the process, he sells his soul by signing a contract with the devil like Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. By the time, Jedi heads for the spot where he had parked during the terrible storm more than a year earlier, he was as doomed as any hubristic character in literature.
Read Eustace Palmer’s thriller in Juba Hill, and you will never look at long thick creepers in forty-foot gullies quite the same way again. A Pillar in the Community is one of the best mystery, crime, and suspense fiction books published by the Sierra Leonean Writers Series.
A Pillar of the Community by Eustace Palmer Doc P.