Murder on Safari

Elspeth Joscelin Grant Huxley, Author Viking Books $16.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-670-82319-2
Best known for The Flame Trees of Thika , Huxley also wrote three mysteries set in Africa, this one in 1938. The reissue shows its age, but there is excitement in events set afoot by wealthy colonizers at play in Kenya during the bad old days. ``Great white hunter'' Danny de Mare persuades CID Superintendent Vachell to join Lord and Lady Baradale's safari when someone steals the lady's jewels from the portable safe in her tent. Posing as an extra guide, Vachell observes members of the party closely, finding no clues although he has several suspects: a titled ``pansy,'' Sir Gordon Catchpole, whose engagement to flighty Cara was arranged by the Lady Baradale, her stepmother; Cara's preferred lover, fired for his attentions to the girl. Even her father is under suspicion, but not lovely Chris Davis, attached to the safari as an aviator (a character clearly influenced by famous Beryl Markham). The narrative twists its way through murders, passed off as accidents, and other elongated incidents, to the rather vague resolution. The novel's main attractions are the vivid descriptions of the terrain and the author's prescient protest against the slaughter of wildlife for fun and profit. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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