cover image The Idol of Mombasa

The Idol of Mombasa

Annamaria Alfieri. Felony & Mayhem, $14.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-63194-100-9

Set in 1912, Alfieri’s captivating, complex second mystery set in East Africa (after 2014’s Strange Gods) highlights cultural and social issues. Because the Brits must placate the Arabs if they’re to maintain control within their empire in Africa, Mombasa’s justice system is biased not only in favor of whites but also the city’s large Arab population. Justin Tolliver, an assistant district superintendent with the British East African Police, is forbidden from enforcing Britain’s antislavery laws (with which the Arabs disagree), and is ordered to keep the peace and protect a visiting Egyptian dignitary rather than investigate the murder of an escaped black slave. Justin’s wife, Vera, the outspoken, African-born daughter of a Scottish missionary, refuses to let such discrimination stand and launches her own investigation. The pace is deliberate, but patient readers are rewarded with nuanced subplots and straitlaced Justin’s dawning realization that serving justice isn’t necessarily synonymous with serving “King and Country.” [em]Agent: Adrienne Rosado, Nancy Yost Literary Agency. (Oct.) [/em]