Who Is Rufus T Weeks?
In his book on writing, the famous thriller writer, Stephen King, describes this type of novel as a ‘What if…’ story so what better title than a question that goes to the heart of the entire tale. So, who is Rufus T Weeks and why do the Roman Catholic Church and the American government want to keep the answer to that question a secret? After all, the facts were established before WW2 - Rufus T Weeks was the son of impoverished black sharecroppers in the Deep South of the USA. Although pre-dated by Jesse Owens, the famous American sprinter, Rufus T Weeks was the fastest middle-distance track athlete of his day, so fast in fact that his achievements that have never been beaten, were openly challenged and he was branded a cheat. With only the basic technology of the time to help, Rufus T Weeks’ reaction to the accusation was to abandon his sporting career and spend the rest of his life working as a Methodist pastor among the poorest communities of the Deep South. That’s the story Markus Jenkyns, a former TV researcher, now a private investigator living in Switzerland, learns from an urbane Asian who turns up at his office from the USA almost without warning. It sounds like another dated conspiracy tale which Markus feels inclined to dismiss. But, when his source is murdered shortly after returning to Chicago Markus is driven to find the answer. His quest takes Markus from Asia to Africa, Europe to the USA, but every line of enquiry is blocked. It soon becomes clear that the NSA and the Roman Catholic church are determined to prevent Markus discovering the answers he seeks. Throughout his search he’s aided by Jeong Ki- nam, a Korean-American television producer, Margaret Cunningam, an American state attorney and the local contacts of Sepp Muggli, formerly a senior officer in the Swiss military police. With their help Markus intends to find out whether Rufus was a cheat and a fraud, or if he really was the fastest middle-distance runner in the world nearly 70 years ago and, regardless of the answer, he now wants to know why people are so determined to prevent him from finding out. As the story builds to its climax on a television programme beamed live by satellite around the world, is the world prepared for the shock of the truth and how far will the authorities go to prevent its publication? Despite the disappointing depths to which television programming everywhere seems to have descended, I believe its power to inform, explain and defend important truths remains one of TV’s most important responsibilities. Although this novel is essentially a story to entertain and please my reader, it does also ask some interesting and fairly profound questions about the way mankind regards itself.