Leopard's Prey: A Jade del Cameron Mystery

Suzanne Middendorf Arruda, Author
Suzanne Middendorf Arruda, Author . NAL/Obsidian $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-451-22586-3
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Spunky Jade del Cameron, animal wrangler, photojournalist and neophyte pilot, predictably tames man and beast in Arruda's middling fourth mystery set in 1920 Kenya (after 2008's The Serpent's Daughter ). When a local merchant's body turns up on a coffee plantation, the authorities deem it a case of murder. The chief suspect is Sam Featherstone, wounded American war hero, now filmmaker and Jade's flying mentor, who torments Jade with that age-old female dilemma, marriage or independence. In between solving crimes and rescuing baby animals, Jade laments the passing of old Africa and promotes nascent African independence. Her charming cheetah, Biscuit, and Jade's indomitable can-do spirit reinforce the author's relish for describing the Kenyan landscape, its animal life and its native Kikuyu and Masai tribesmen, saving this otherwise conventional novel from banality. (Jan.)

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