The African Poison Murders

Elspeth Joscelin Grant Huxley, Author Viking Books $16.95 (22p) ISBN 978-0-670-82263-8
Near the colonial East African town of Kuruna on the eve of World War II tensions are running high between settlers of German and English origin. Into this potential trouble spot comes CID superintendent Vachell, looking into Nazi plans. Mixed with the Bund activities are various small local atrocitiesa governess's pigeons decapitated, the paws cut off a pet dog. Soon a local farmer, Karl Munson, former head of the local Bund, is found dead in his pyrethrum-drying shed. Was it murder as his widow claims, or an accident as the doctor and autopsy seem to indicate? Munson had a reputation as a womanizer; he'd made a strong play for Janice West of the farm next door. He also virtually disinherited his wife and children and may have been a blackmailer. The superintendent, who is staying at the West farm, finds himself in a difficult position: he is the guest of prime suspects, and he is falling in love with his host's wife. A bush fire, further bloodshed and a near brush with death lead Vachell to the killer and the hope for a new life. Huxley, author of The Flame Trees of Thika and murder mysteries (Murder on Safari and Murder at Government House), credibly evokes the life of Africa's colonial era in a nicely crafted, colorful tale. Detective Book Club and Preferred Choice Bookplan alternates. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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