The Fortune Men
By Nadifa Mohamed
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Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, some-time petty thief. He is many things, in fact, but he is not a murderer.
So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn’t too worried. It is true that he has been getting into trouble more often since his Welsh wife Laura left him. But Mahmood is secure in his innocence in a country where, he thinks, justice is served.
It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of freedom dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a terrifying fight for his life – against conspiracy, prejudice and the inhumanity of the state. And, under the shadow of the hangman’s noose, he begins to realise that the truth may not be enough to save him.Tweet
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This fictionalised account of the true story of Mahmood Mattan, a Somalian in Cardiff in 1952, brings home in no uncertain terms how the political is personal and how history continues to affect lives down the centuries. He is accused of a murder he didn't commit and will hang if found guilty. That doesn't stop the institutional and personal racism in the police force and the community at large from conspiring against him. A tragic and heartbreaking story told with great humanity.