Guyanese author writes about murder in the UN

Guyanese author writes about murder in the UN
Guyanese author Derrick John Jeffrey displays a copy of his novel “East River,” a tale that is set in the United Nations, and spans four continents.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Derrick John Jeffrey’s passion, and organic way of writing, is the reason for his successful careers as storyteller, playwright, and author that began in his homeland of Guyana back in the 70s.

His most recent fictitious narrative, East River, showcases his ability to capture his audience’s attention. This is exactly what the bestselling author did, using his wildest imagination, in an exciting tale of suspense.

“East River” begins at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan where a murder is committed and the assassin makes a daring escape into the rippling waves of the city river in the dead of night.

A journalist bears witness to the crime, but is persuaded to cover-up the murder. The tale unravels over many years in a scheme of organized crime, sex, lies, and corruption.

This brilliantly, written novel, takes readers on a journey through four continents, in an enigma described by one reviewer, as intriguing, akin to John Grisham’s novel “The Firm.”

Another reader notes, Jeffrey demonstrates a detailed understanding of the United Nations building, bureaucracy, and intrigue as he masterfully weaves the movement of people within, and outside the walls of the institution.

Jeffrey expressed how much fun he had writing “East River,” stating, “After reading the manuscript and before convincing my sister, Valerie to help with the editing, I almost fell off the chair laughing and asking myself, “Did I really write this?”

“On completion I realized it was extremely easy to write this book and a few others in a variety of genres based on the large number of creative stories that were swirling around in my head.”

“I wanted to become a creative writer and this is the primary reason I took early retirement from the UN and plunged headfirst into the realm of solitary ‘self-induced insanity,” he jokingly said.

“While on a journey of self-discovery I have been to about 15 countries, seen some things I have never seen before, all of which I intend to use as settings and characters in my future writings,” he added.

Jeffrey, a Guyanese-born, who won former President Cheddi Jagan’s gold medical for literary 40 years ago, for his short-story “Stand Pipe” is a prolific poet, who was inspired to write “East River,” (being sold in paperback format, at, and in e-format) because of his innate talent for storytelling.

“My late and dear mother used to refer to my writing as my ability to espouse the alternative truth,” said Jeffrey, jokingly that his writing became better after overcoming his inability to spell certain words correctly with the help of a computer spellchecker.

His first book “Guava Jelly,” had marked a return to serious writing after retiring to Thailand where he taught English to Grades 10, 11 and 12 students at an international high school, after serving more than 30 years at the United Nations.

Jeffrey, is not only arguably one of Guyana’s greatest, creative writers, he is also the inventor and designer of the world’s first biodegradable human waste system — approved by the UN consultant engineers — for the 20,000 UN peacekeepers, during his mission in Cambodia.

Currently working on his next book, “Sunrise On the Mekong” — a children’s book about fulfilling a dream, and “Demerara” — a collection of short stories on a Guyana county with the same name, Jeffery reflects on his extensive work as a journalist.

He worked at the Guyana Ministry of Information where he was a press officer, for seven years, and later, a Staff Council editor-in-chief of the UN Staff Report — an in-house staff related newspaper that reached 50,000 staff members worldwide.

He has received many accolades for his work, including a Guyana Cultural Association — Guyana Folk Festival Award, the same organization he recently donated audio equipment to further the organization’s creative arts department.

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