Mark of the Lion: A Jade del Cameron Mystery

Suzanne Middendorf Arruda, Author . NAL $23.95 (340p) ISBN 978-0-451-21748-6

Set in 1919, Arruda's promising debut introduces a heroine who's no ordinary Gibson girl. An ambulance driver during WWI, Jade del Cameron promises a dying soldier that she'll track down his brother. The only problem is that the soldier's mother, whom Jade goes to visit in London, insists that she had only one son. Jade reasons that the missing brother must have been born to another woman, conceived when the now deceased family patriarch was exploring East Africa. So off she goes to Nairobi, where she mingles with the colonial elite, kills a hyena, learns Swahili, fingers a drug smuggler, romances a man twice her age, uncovers a murder and attracts the attentions of a local witch. The novel's conclusion is a tad predictable, and Arruda's Africa is not quite as captivating as Alexander McCall Smith's (an inevitable comparison). Still, most readers will close this charming book eagerly anticipating the next installment of Jade's adventures. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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