Brideprice: A Mystery

J. N. Catanach, Author Foul Play Press $17.95 (250p) ISBN 978-0-88150-125-4
Only the exotic locale and culture of Nairobi, which are depicted vividly, along with an interesting, offbeat private eye, distinguish this otherwise uninspiring novel, set during the reign of President Jomo Kenyatta. An old newspaper clipping bearing the number of her parents' race car is the impetus for Stephanie Duncan's return to her birthplace to resolve unanswered questions concerning their death: the couple's car had plunged down an embankment while they were participating in the East African Safari Rally. Upon arrival in Africa, Stephanie is befriended by rich, debonair Kassim Salim, one of her parents' cronies. He reveals the shocking news that her father is alive, and promises to help her uncover the truth about the accident. As Stephanie begins to trace her past, gumshoe Wellington Waki Oloo offers his services, paid for by an anonymous client. Their inquiries reveal Stephanie's mother's infidelity and the possibility that the ``accident'' may have been murder. Unfortunately, Catanach ( White Is the Color of Death ) fails either to draw the reader into Stephanie's adventure or to make one care about her. This lackluster mystery is more a melodrama than a suspense story. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-595-08887-4
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