This riveting mystery was published towards the end of the Mau Mau rebellion, when Kenya was once more considered safe for whites. Around this time the author was with her husband in Kenya, where his regiment had been sent to deal with "The Emergency." This explains the authentic feeling of MM Kaye's portrayal of white settlers and their attitudes to their African servants.
The plot revolves around two interesting women: the eccentric Lady Emily DeBrett who at 72 has made a success of farming in Kenya and loves the land - and Em's niece, young Victoria Caryll. Victoria has just left London to return to her native Kenya and help Em with secretarial work.
Relationships are complicated. Victoria was once engaged to Em's fatally handsome grandson Eden and may still love him. A neighboring youth has a tumultuous crush on Eden's wife. And the estate manager's wife is in love with Eden. The various entanglements added depth to the mystery.
And there's mystery in plenty. Aunt Em's house is afflicted with a poltergeist or vandal who's breaking her most precious things. Her favorite dog is poisoned. Finally the unknown enemy commits murder.
The local Police Superintendent spares no one in his inquiries, even his oldest friends. The murderer may be one of the settlers, who are in the grip of all sort of passions. Or one of the trusted African servants may be a terrorist in disguise.
Death in Kenya is rich in suspense, romance, history - and fabulous local color. Herds of zebra and gazelle roam at will, baboons howl and leap in acacia groves and spear-bearing Masai warriors with ochre-smeared bodies are a not-uncommon sight. I really enjoyed this book, and am happily reading my way through the whole "Death in" series by MM Kaye.
The Mau Mau terrorist uprising is now over, but when Victoria joins her family on their beautiful Rift Valley estate, the horrors continue. What began as the malicious persecution of a poltergeist has ended in brutal murder. In the small community passions run deep - but deeper still is the mind of a ruthless killer ...